The retrenchment at Royal Media Services continues with more journalists being pushed out. The latest big name to go Citizen TV is Business Editor Steve Kimani. He joins reporters Kendagor Obadiah (politics), Evelyne Wambui (features) and Patrick Injendi (Kiswahili), who were offloaded early last week alongside a number of cameramen and IT people.
The changes are said to have been largely engineered by Peter Opondo, who rejoined Royal Media Services as group consulting editor from Mediamax. While at Mediamax, he pushed Steve Kimani out as business editor of K24 and fate appeared to have conspired to bring the two under same circumstances for the second time.
It’s not clear why RMS would fire such high-profile and respected personalities not just at Citizen but in the entire media industry, but a memo announcing changes in editors points to a clinical purge motivated by more than just restructuring.
“In line with the company’s commitment to remain competitive and optimise human resource utilisation, we have begun a process of aligning staff skills and competencies with our strategic goals,” says the Memo dated Febraury 26th by Group Managing Director Waruru Wachira.
The process started with TV production, ICT and editorial departments and will move to management where big heads are expected to roll over ethical issues.
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RMS has developed new structures for TV production and ICT which, it says, “focus on main delivery areas.” Employees are being realigned in their roles based on their skills and competencies.
Of more interest is the editorial department, which is the engine of any media house, which has been radically restructured to enhance editorial output across its radio, TV and digital platforms. “The new editorial structure seeks to eliminate duplication of effort and better position our people.”
In what mirrors the converged newsroom model being implemented by some other media houses, digital content will be managed by editorial and all reporters will deliver to TV, radio and online platforms “to build synergy and ensure better utilization of resources.”
The changes at a glance
Latifah Ngunjiri, who was TV production manager, has been promoted to group head of production, in what insiders say sidelines her from the core production process.
Ngige Ngugi and Catherine Wamuyu, who have been at the helm of local productions have been promoted to TV production managers for Citizen TV and Inooro TV respectively.
Peter Malla joins the Group as ICT Service Delivery Manager.
Salim Swaleh Abdalla has been hired in the editorial department as input editor – Swahili, which is in direct competition with Swaleh Mdoe’s job. It’s not clear how they will share the duties.
Elizabeth Kwamwiri, who managed inhouse productions, becomes chief producer – drama, while Eunice Mwangi has been promoted to the position of logistics administrator – TV production in recognition for her all round contribution in that department.
The memo also confirms the employment of Samson Ogina and Mercy Kandie (both from KTN) as reporters.
The conclusion of the memo has thrown the entire RMS family into panic. “Please note that other realignments will happen across the Group and details will be shared in due course.”
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