The headline screamed ‘Born to Shine’, and the kicker was description of how a 13 year old girl, living in squalor conditions with his father turned fortunes to score 431 marks. It is a story that would inspire anyone as it also described other candidates from disadvantaged backgrounds overcame terrible hardships to excel.
That is the today’s Daily Nation, November 21st 2018. It is not always this promising. This instructive. This pivotal. This useful. From a prominence perspective and timeliness, its fitting. It is the kind of headline, storytelling and focus you want to see media doing, in better shaping society.
Kenya is at a crossroads. There is so much politicking, negative energy and lack of direction from the country’s leaders. If there is ever a time for an entity to do how Napoleon Bonaparte defined as a leader, ‘a dealer of hope’, then the media is best placed.
Often times there is considerable criticism on prioritization as well as quality in the journalism seen in the country. The expectations of the people, vis-à-vis editorial decisions of media irk Kenyans but when they decide to do it right, they should not only be lauded, but also reminded that that is the role they are to play in society.
The media shapes and influences minds and could alter policy conversations. From an accountability perspective, it is the public who consume their content that is best placed to help them realize when they err, so that they can be better.
Nation Media Group, the biggest media house in East and Central Africa has laid considerable investment in broadcast, print and electronic media. It has unparalleled infrastructure and reach, built over the years. The expectation of what it should do is there higher.
The media house weathers storm after the other. From mass resignations of top anchors and reporters, to columnist, they have found a way to bring up newer journalists. They often struggle to command authority, but with more exposure, they show their mettle.
What has been most different and ensure they stand out has been the Media Lab. It has over the year has the only robust internal training mechanism to shape their journalists. Unfortunately, they no longer have it but many of the trail blazers in journalism today are products of this noble initiative.
In terms of content delivery and management in the print industry, Daily Nation stands tall. The exclusives, features and storytelling is authoritative. The quality of editors they have and retain as well as writers is an envy in the industry.
Some of its writers like John Kamau provide historical, authentic and descriptive narrative of everyday life struggles and happening, that a reader finds instructive. They are knowledgeable especially in providing context and players on issues affecting the country today.
The other very important thing that makes them stand out is the gate keeping. Daily Nation has a robust editorial chain of command to ensure that whatever goes on print is beyond reproach. Sometimes they get it wrong but considering that they have the least defamation cases in the newspaper business, it is telling how thorough they go the extra mile.
The numbers being peddled; two out of three people read it and 35 million a month are telling that they do certainly lead the pack. But we must keep it on its toes, to remind it that it can do better and this better will make Kenya a great nation.