After poaching several star journalists from rival stations, NTV and KTN, it is now the turn of Citizen TV to experience the brunt of staff exits following the departure of prolific reporters Mercy Kandie and Sylvia Chebet.
The two are headed to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), which is on a recruitment spree after setting up Ksh 1 billion regional studios in Riverside Nairobi to house its Africa operations.
The two’s exit comes days after Swahili news anchor Willis Raburu decamped to NTV. Salim Swaleh, another Swahili anchor and editor, had also quit about three weeks ago to join the same station.
Kandie, who joined Citizen TV from KTN in March 2016, made a name in the media industry with her rich feature stories on issues affecting the North Rift region, including the perennial conflict pitting Pokots and Marakwets and the use of culture in pursuit of peace before moving to Nairobi.
The stories won her various awards, including the best reporter of the year 2012 during the Standard Group awards, among others.
She holds a Bachelor Degree in Communication and Public Relations from Moi University.
Chebet is a health journalist who has made a mark with various feature stories covering a wide range of areas from HIV/Aids to multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB).
She was among the first group of TV trainees at Internews’ Local Voices program in Kenya where she honed skills on how to report on health issues accurately and effectively. As a result, Citizen TV launched the Heartbeat programme for her.
A multiple award winner, she also covers local and international politics, international criminal law, environment, education, business, education and culture.
She was the CNN Multichoice Africa Journalist of the Year Award winner (2011), the Best Kenyan Television Journalist on Gender and Development (2008) and Children Legal Action Network Creative Writer on children issues (2009).
Chebet holds Bachelors degree in Communication (Electronic Media and Public Relations) from Daystar University.
Their exit is likely to come as a big blow to Citizen TV despite its record hirings that have seen it leave both NTV and KTN badly battered thanks to their practical field experience.
Royal Media Services, which owns Citizen TV, has focused on hiring news anchors and editors as opposed to reporters amid speculation it is planning to unveil a 24-hour TV station.
However, the super salaries the new comers are earning has already caused disquiet as staff at Communications Centre have not gotten a salary increase in recent years.
Already, three key staff from Citizen Radio have joined Milele FM, which is owned by Mediamax Network Ltd, after the Human Resource Department rejected calls for a pay review. They are head of Citizen Radio Joyce Gituro and presenters Francis Luchivya and Jacky Nyaminde, popularly known as Wilbroda, who hosted the popular Jambo Kenya morning show.