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Endgame: Sports Journalist Elias Makori Walks Tall From NMG

After 32 years of service at NMG, Elias Makori has established himself as one of Kenya's best sports journalists

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Elias Makori, the long-serving Nation Media Group sports journalist, is among top editors who are leaving as the media house restructures its operations. Makori, who had worked for NMG for 32 straight years, took the decision in stride, thanking the company for the opportunity to work for it and even offered to continue mentoring young journalists.

Makori has been serving as Lead Editor for Sports and Integration Projects, having risen through the ranks on the sports desk from junior reporter in 1992 to Reporter, Sports Editor and later Managing Editor.

“Whatever has a beginning certainly has an end,” Makori, the award-winning journalist, wrote to colleagues last evening. “The time has come for NMG and I to part (formal) company with deep, mutual gratitude. From Friday, June 14, I will be making my exit from Nation Centre.”

His exit follows that of Content Hubs editor Bernard Mwinzi who also left through a similar deal with Nation Media Group’s management. More editors are expected to exit in similar fashion.

> Deep in Loss, Nation Media Group is Facing Tougher Options

Makori – who leaves as the longest serving member of the Editorial team – marked 30 years anniversary working for Nation two years ago, in a companywide ceremony where he was decorated by management and colleagues. He is among a few journalists who have been loyal to NMG, working for over three decades uninterrupted, including a stint from 2013 to 2016 as Regional Editor in charge of the North Rift Region and based in Eldoret.

It was during his tenure at the Eldoret Regional Office that he moved the bureau from its small office at Zion Mall to the current location at Daima Towers (Moi University Pension Scheme Building), and led in the construction of modern NTV television studios at the bureau.

“I’m extremely proud and humbled to have given my 32 years of dedicated, uninterrupted, unequivocal service to this great organization,” he says in his note. “I will remain indebted to NMG for shaping my professional career, and will certainly be happy to share my experience and offer mentorship at NMG – which will always remain my home – and beyond.”

Elias Makori
Elias Makori marked 30 years anniversary working for Nation Media Group two years ago.

He urged his former colleagues to “stay strong and remain hopeful” even in the face of adversity as NMG goes through one the thickest moments in its history. He left them with a bible verse from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 which implores that there’s a time for everything under the sun. It is message that cuts both ways.

For employees there is a time to join and a time to leave, a time to laugh and a time to mourn. As NMG is learning, there is a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to mourn and a time to dance.

> Why Nation Media is Laying Off 180 Employees

Makori looks back to December 1992 when he finally got his appointment letter as a reporter with nostalgia. It was the height of the YK92 (Youth for KANU, an outfit that campaigned for the election of President Daniel Moi in the first multiparty elections) and a time when Nation Media Group was moving its operations from Old Nation House to the imposing Nation Centre, known in the newsroom as the twin-towers.

Elias Makori
Elias Makori during a moment with President William Ruto.

Several senior journalists left NMG to join YK92 at the time. “A lot has happened since,” he recalls. “In 1992, (William) Ruto was a young member of YK92. Now he is President of Kenya.”

His crowning moment was in 2012 when he was named World Journalist of the Year in Barcelona, Spain, by World Athletics President Seb Coe (at the time Vice President of the global athletics body). In a way, this moment – that marked World Athletics’100 years anniversary – summarised his career at NMG: from rookie reporter to best journalist in the world.

During his stay at NMG, Makori was also named Kenyan Sports Journalist of the Year three times, Africa Media Personality of the Year in 2019 and Africa Boxing Journalist of the year last year last year, among other accolades.

Elias Makori
His crowning moment was in 2012 when he was named World Journalist of the Year in Barcelona, Spain, by World Athletics.

He also served for 12 years as a Member of the World Athletics Press Commission and is currently a member of World Athletics’ Heritage committee besides other international media engagements.

Makori is taking the move in stride, confident that it is a well-deserved transition. “You know very well that surviving the Nation Centre editorial pressure cooker atmosphere isn’t easy,” he says, “let alone doing that for 32 straight years, without getting a single memo! I look back at my service with pride, deep satisfaction, respect to the NMG management over the years for giving me this opportunity.”

Makori told BT that he will take time off to enjoy the Euro 2024 football tournament that kicks off this Friday in Germany before travelling to Paris for the Olympics after which he will settle on his next assignment, which he said includes running mentorship programmes for young journalists and promoting national and grassroots sports in various capacities.

> Meet the Best Journalists in Kenya 2024

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BT Reporter
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