Nation Media Group has reorganised sections of its editorial department even as staff exits gain momentum at Kenya’s leading media house.
Those affected by the latest reorganisation include Dave Opiyo, who has been moved from Kisii to become regional news editor in Eldoret. This is seen as a promotion as Eldoret covers a larger geographical region and is one of the key bureaus in the country, which happens to be home to Deputy President William Ruto, top athletes and their officials. It’s also a hotbed of politics.
Parliamentary reporter Jeremiah Kiplangat has been moved to Kisii as bureau chief, in what has become a trend at Daily Nation to push Parliamentary reporters to the counties to prepare them for bigger assignments. In terms of positioning, moving to Kisii is a promotion, but it fades in terms of influence when looked at in terms of opportunities for growth and exposure available in Parliament and head office newsroom.
Even as the changes were effected, Nation Media Group continued to suffer staff exits, which threaten the stability of some of its products. Joel Muinde, who was a sub-editor online, has been poached by Citizen TV while online moderator Wagema Munyori has left to pursue other interests.
Daily Nation has also lost key writers including Otiato Guguyu who has moved to rival Standard, Ngare Kariuki to the PR world, Brian Mureithi to UNDP and Jacquline Kubania who is out for further studies. The Business Daily, which has lately lost dependable writers, has lost Allan Odhiambo who has left to study in the UK and sub-editor Rawlings Otini who has left to pursue personal interests.
Insiders said most journalists are leaving NMG due to growing pressure to deliver under tight working conditions, including stagnant salaries.
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Even as the Nation newsroom comes to terms with these exits, the health desk has been reorganised under Bernard Mwinzi to improve coverage of health issues. Journalists who have been incorporated in the new health team are Vera Okeyo, Sharon Baranga, Merab Elizabeth, Eunice Kilonzo and Mery Juma.
The increased health coverage has been sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Details of the arrangement remain scanty but is appears Melinda Gates Foundation will push for more coverage of health matters in Kenya and Nation could introduce a health pullout or magazine depending on how much the foundation is willing to pay.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Global Health Division aims to harness advances in science and technology to save lives in developing countries, where it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty.