It was early December 2018, when we read about gang violence in Honduras being on the rise. But, it was not just Honduras, it was El Salvador, and Guatemala too. In what seemed like a very short span of time, people were fleeing their countries and making their way to the US on foot. Within weeks, thousands of migrants were seeking asylum in the US. Deportations spiked and migrants getting tear-gassed made headlines.
At this point, we were working on our passion startup, Benefactory. A startup that collabs with online companies during urgent crises to make it easy for people to make a donation. This was an urgent crisis. But no one really understood what was going on, nor did we. Until we started digging in.
Here’s what was happening - everyone saw two conflicting realities of the situation. Left-leaning publications painted a very different picture from right-leaning outlets. While The Washington Post covered personal stories depicting the “barbaric violence” migrants were desperately fleeing, Fox News labelled them as “rapists and criminals,” and this sensationalized narrative eclipsed what was happening. Even nonprofits weren’t vocal about the fact that they were helping migrants because people’s dispositions were so swayed by the news. And that’s when we realized how drastically journalistic opinion can skew the narrative of the truth.
In an audacious attempt, we cold-emailed powerful personalities whose words directly reached millions of people. Fortunately, we got Kerry Washington, Prabal Gurung, and Ilana Glazer, to support our campaign and be the megaphone to help spread the facts. But relying on influential personalities shouldn’t be the status quo.
It was evident right then that this was a big problem, and one that we faced first hand. The only way to stop this going forward was to separate fact and opinion, but would our generation care to read an outlet solely pointing out differences in news headlines? Probably not. Publications already had a tough time getting Millennials and Gen Zers to read the news. But what did our generation really want?
...and that’s pretty much how Volv was born. A simple need to give no bullshit news in an easy to read format.
- Shannon & Priyanka