Do you want to work as a citizen journalist and earn from your sweat? There are those of us who went to journalism school or wanted to be news journalists but mainstream media houses would not just accommodate us. They had too many writers on their plate and as such we would have to wait to till heaven knows when before they employed us or we saw our bylines on the papers. Anytime we send them unsolicited articles that we want to see published on the papers, our efforts are met with silence. The editor just blushes through the email and since they have a full time journalist covering the story, your article never sees the light of the day. One feels like giving up and looking for another profession, don’t you? Well, I have been in those very shoes and I know how bad it feels. But here is the good news; there is an online publication that will accept your articles. All you need to do is pen good articles revolving on what is trending in Kenya, send them and if they are published, you get 100shs in your Mpesa account. When you write for hivisasa, all this comes to pass.
How does Hivisasa operate?
After working for a week on the site, I have gathered that Hivisasa.com is an online news publication that gets its money from advertisers who post ads on the Hivisasa website. Hivisasa therefore wants writers who will write newsy and click-bait content so as to get as many pageviews as possible for this ads. If you visit the site, you will see some Multibet ads as well as Youtube video ads. Those are the companies that pay Hivisasa and they in turn pay you the writer to drive traffic to their site.
Hivisasa is also funded by 88mph, Novastar ventures and Omidyar Network that support social enterprise startups.
How to create a writer account on Hivisasa
Creating an account with Hivisasa.com is very easy. All you need to do is go to bench.hivisasa.com and supply your personal details: Name, Email address, Location in Kenya and your Mpesa phone number for sending payments once you have been published. If you want assistance, I could guide you so simply send me your phone number, full name and location to my email address [firstname.lastname@example.org]. This way, I will be able to refer you to the platform and I will earn Ksh. 150 when you article gets published.
The platform wants citizen journalists to report stories in Nakuru, Kiambu, Machakos, Kisii, Nyamira, Kisumu, Uasin Gishu, Garissa, Mombasa and Kibera. They will continue opening up to other counties. If you are not in the mentioned counties, you need not worry though, you can report National news stories from anywhere.
What types of articles are accepted?
Hivisasa accepts political, sports, educational, entertainment, random, opinion among other trending news stories. As you write for hivisasa though, make sure that your content is newsy and will evoke curiosity in readers. Hard news articles need to be between 180-190 words with accompanying images. For opinion and random articles, they can be more than this but they need to be interesting enough for the reader to go through the whole content and still feel thrilled at the end of the article. Each article should be accompanied by a relevant image which you either took during the news event or credited to the source if you took from another website. There is no limit to the number of articles that you can write on the platform.
What will be rejected when you write for hivisasa?
Hivisasa though is not for lazy writers who want to make a cash cow from it. No, you need to research or even visit the news source so as to pen the most engaging story. Plagiarism is shunned and nobody will accept a copied article. The editor will simply reject it with a curt ‘Too similar’ remark. Again the article needs to be engaging as well as evoking the urge to read. If you are to start writing, I would advise that you do some reading on how to write catchy headlines as well as use of journalistic language.
How do they pay?
Payment is through Mpesa and is made every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A message appears at 8.00 am asking you to be ready to receive the Mpesa. And voila, a few moments later, your Mpesa will have some cash in it. Other than the Ksh.100, they also give bonus payments of upto 5,000 for those stories that had the highest pageviews in a week. The hivisasa bonus payment is explained here.
Sample articles on the platform
Currently, I have been able to pen seven articles that were published. You can go through some of them here to get a gist of how to write for hivisasa.