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Friday, July 19, 2024
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Kenyan Elections: The Reporters behind the Stories.

Most of the TV and Radio stations in Kenya had posted reporters in many areas within the country. Given the complexity of Kenyan transportation, most networks had groups of reporters assigned to each county.

It is not easy to be a Kenyan reporter as I learned from Ann Macharia who writes for the Nation Media group in Kiambu county. One of the challenges of reporting news in Kenya is that many media houses do not have vehicles for reporters. “In Kenya, reporting is not a Job. It is a calling”. I learned from Ann who had to take a matatu everywhere. Those who understand the matatu business can imagine the chaos! It is slow, noisy, dusty and local. “I am responsible for following all kinds of stories in Kiambu county. Therefore we, meaning several reporters, have to decide how best to share information.” Without a media car, one has to wait for a matatu, then the matatu has to wait around for passengers. Then the matatu has to stop every where, any how and any way to pick passengers. “You can imagine the hustle of trying to get to a scene of an accident, or domestic violence, or cover politicians.”
It happens that many times, these reporters had to use their own money to travel. It is here that some become compromised. “We have to understand that reporters are also mothers, fathers, and people who also need to pay their bills at the end of the day.” Ann explains the ethical Dilemma. “Unless you are ethically sound, and the reporting is a calling which requires your sacrifice, it is not an easy job”. She says as she finishes her report.
Covering the Kiambu County politics and following the Diaspora Senate Candidate Teresia Wairimu Kairu, I had seen why Kenyan systems are complicated. If you are in a matatu going to Kiambu and a police man stops the driver for “violations”, which happens often, do you report on the transaction or do you proceed to your major event? Tough!
Whenever people read the news, it is important to remember that a “called” and ethical reporter like Ann, who is also a wife and a mother, has taken a matatu and done everything to bring the news to the Citizen. For that we must say, thank you.
Teddy Njoroge Kamau (PhD), SYR Radio/TV, Director, International Desk. Diaspora Messenger Contributor
Sitting at a tea room in Limuru after taking several matatu’s

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