The exit of journalists over the past few months is causing jitters at Business Daily, the work-week newspaper published by Nation Media Group. The newspaper, which publishes Monday-Friday, has lately suffered a hemorrhage of reporters in a pattern that has insiders worried.
The media house is now heavily relying on correspondents to drive its news agenda though this may prove unsustainable since this group of journalists also feels disenfranchised over low pay and can bolt out at the slightest opportunity.
Staff reporters who have left lately include, among others, Annie Njanja, Edwin Okoth, Doreen Wainaina and Patrick Alushula, while the correspondents’ desk has lost James Kariuki and Salton Njau, a long-serving photo journalist.
Annie Njanja, who returned recently from studies abroad, has been the latest to quit. Last week, she resigned and dropped a message to her colleagues saying, “It’s been a great 8 years, but today I check out of the twin towers. This is not a good-bye, rather, a see you around message. Blessings!”
Patrick Alushula quit mid October to return to Standard newspaper where he honed his business writing skills. On 17th October, he bid farewell to his colleagues.
“Friends,” he wrote. “Friday was not to be. I leave with warm memories of the time we spent together and the great deal we accomplished along the way. Thank you for the friendship, the memories and the lessons. You have been more than co-workers. May our paths cross again as we continue to tell the stories of our times. Best of luck to you all.”
Indeed, those he left behind may need the luck in huge doses, with imaginations of the NMG management strategizing to bleed the newspaper to its own death. Its performance in he market in terms of circulation and advertising remains a matter of speculation and with the invasion of new media, things have not been so rosy.
For over a year, the newspaper has run without a managing editor since Ng’ang’a Mbugua was laid off in July 2020, while none of those leaving has been replaced. It is being managed by News Editor and veteran business journalist, Michael Omondi.
Business Daily is now left with just about a dozen writers who include six staff reporters Charles Mwaniki, Victor Juma, Brian Ngugi, Otiato Guguyu, Sam Kiplagat and Linet Igadwa. The correspondents working inhouse at Nation Centre are Bonface Otieno, Constant Munda, John Mutua, Gerald Andae, Elizabeth Kivuva, Kevin Rotich and Diana Ngila.
This has left the staff stretched and often times under pressure to fill the newspaper pages. Then again it also could be a strategy by Nation Media Group’s human resources department to streamline its staff through attrition, the gradual but deliberate reduction in staff numbers that occurs as employees retire or resign and are not replaced. This is a common strategy used by HR professionals in media.