It’s Time to Diversify Skills, Journalists Told at Fun-Filled End of Year Party  

Kenyan journalists have been urged to explore earning an income from individual digital spaces instead of depending on employment from traditional media houses.

This call was made during the 5th Annual The Scribes 254 end of year Party held over the weekend at a Nairobi hotel.

Leading the call was digital journalist and Nairobi Leo founder and CEO Martin Wachira who said the current turbulent scenes facing different media houses should serve as a wake-up call for journalists to explore alternatives to formal employment in traditional media houses.

“Each one of us can create a niche to monetize their own digital space, whether it is social media or just the website and start something that can earn you an income,” said Wachira while encouraging his colleagues.

His sentiments were echoed by Scribes 254 President Roncliffe Odit.

Phyllis Mwatee (Executive Director -Communication at YEDIN Africa) and Roncliffe Odit. Photo/Anne Macharia

Odit who is a Lead Presenter and Senior Reporter with the BBC Swahili, implored journalists to not only explore alternatives to earning an income, but also take advantage of the digital space that is available for free especially when it comes to adaptation to the ever-changing digital space.

Susan Kimachia, a senior editor with Radio Africa Group, also called on journalists to always upscale their skills and have extra trainings to be more marketable.

“Each day presents an opportunity to learn. As a journalist, you should not be okay with a certificate, a diploma or a degree. If you have means, go back to school. But also get an extra skill like video editing, which can be very useful in your personal space,” she said.

Scribes having fun during the party. Photo/Anne Macharia

This call comes as journalists at Standard Media Group, Radio Africa Group and Mediamax are facing harsh times due to delayed salary payments.

For some, they are forced to sleep in offices due to their rental houses being locked.

Some have had to relocate their families from their previous houses to more cheaper ones and schools in a bid to manage paying bills and sustaining their families.

Unions like Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) has sought legal redress to at least have its members paid by their respective media houses.

This year’s The Scribes 254 party was sponsored by HIVOS.

HIVOS East Africa Regional Director Mr. Kennedy Mugochi promised their organisation’s support in promotion and upholding of media freedom even as the industry goes though turbulent times.

HIVOS East Africa Regional Director Mr. Kennedy Mugochi. Photo/Anne Macharia

He assured the journalists that Hivos will continue supporting their work by issuing grants and partnering with community media to highlight stories that help build social movements that strive for just, inclusive and sustainable societies.

At the ceremony, 6 media and communications practitioner were feted for their great contribution to the Scribe 254 family and industry at large through their exemplary work in 2023.

Winners (L-R): Nancy Okware, Marion Kithi, Martin Wachira, Anne Macharia and Joan Mbugua.

The winners included Joan Mbugua (PR Consultant, Paul Tergat Foundation and FineTouch Communications Limited), Nancy Okware (journalist at KBC), Martin Wachira (Nairobi Leo Founder and CEO), Marion Kithi (Standard Group journalist based in Kilifi) and Anne Macharia.

The evening event saw journalists put down their cameras, pens and notebooks and enjoy some good music, while MC Victor Juma of Bus Radio Kajiado and DJ Voltage ensured they were all on their feet.

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