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Nation Media Group Senior Most Editor Leaves

Pamella Sittoni is the latest big head to leave after the exit of two senior editors barely two weeks

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Pamella Sittoni has become the latest senior journalist to leave as Nation Media Group (NMG) works to reduce its payroll. Ms Sittoni, who was Group Managing Editor of the Nation Media Group, the highest position in the editorial pecking order, will be exiting by the end of June, after reaching a deal with the company to terminate her employment prematurely.

This morning, Pamella sent a farewell message to NMG staff, in what doubled as tribute to her former employer. “They say, even the best dancer must dance their last,” she says in the goodbye note. “At the end of this month, I will respectfully, and with a heart full of gratitude, step out of Nation Media Group after a long and extremely rewarding 12-year (second) stint here.”

Pamella’s move follows the exits of veteran sports journalist and Lead Sports Editor Elias Makori and Content Hubs Editor Bernard Mwinzi, as Nation Media trims its fat to survive in the highly dynamic media world. It is understood Pamella opted to exit to pursue other interests.

NMG, fighting to remain relevant in a fast-changing world, is understood to be shifting its model from its conventional print-heavy approach to digital-first journalism where it will need less bosses with more foot soldiers. “The strategy is to have more people working for the online editions,” says an insider who sits in NMG’s strategy meetings but who requested not to be named to protect his job. “With more guys online, editors will have little work as the newspaper will be produced using articles posted online.”

> Pamella Sittoni: Soft-Spoken Journalist Who Keeps Shattering Glass Ceilings

Under this arrangement, it is said, one editor seated with a graphic designer can single handedly produce the newspaper as it will be more of a cut-and-paste job. They key will be having a strong content generation and editing team.

It is a gamble that NMG CEO Stephen Gitagama hopes will pay off even though numbers from the pilot period aren’t looking that pretty. According to sources the digital-first pilot, launched in September 2023, had generated generated only Ksh28 million by mid June, nine months later, raising doubts on how fast this model can break even. Currently, the flagship Daily Nation still generates the bulk of its revenues.

Meanwhile, the exit of Pamella Sittoni is being closely watched as it has already touched off  succession talk, with insiders trying to figure out who will take over from her from those who survive the cleanup.

For her, it’s been a hell of a journey for one of the most successful female journalists in Kenya. She stands out as a pioneer, being among the first lady to hold the position of Group Managing Editor at the Nation Media Group, and arguably in Kenyan media.

“To say it has been an awesome journey is an understatement. I have indeed had a phenomenal career in media and communications. I have experienced unmatched favour from God, successive supervisors and CEOs, and colleagues at every point in my working life,” she says.

Pamella joined Nation Media Group in July 1992 as an intern from the University of Nairobi’s School of Journalism, “armed with nothing other than a burning aspiration to work as a journalist.” She would work as a correspondent, reporter, sub-editor, assistant deputy chief sub-editor, rising to chief sub-editor.

Her ascent continued, catapulting her to the position of Managing Editor of The EastAfrican, Executive Editor and Managing Editor of Daily Nation, Executive Editor for Partnerships, and, evantually, Group Managing Editor. “Most of the titles were well beyond my wildest imagination. I sincerely thank all those who opened doors for me, who held my hand and taught me the ropes, and guided and corrected me. I pray that they will all receive their reward here on earth,” she says.

Pamella took over from Mutuma Mathiu, who left in December 2022 after serving as editor-in-chief for four years. She has served as GME for less than two years, and the jury is still out on her legacy at the top of the Nation’s editorial table.

“We’ve had exciting times, great days and some sad moments,” Pamella says. “We’ve done amazing journalism: produced excellent, life-defining content, written memorable headlines, created important publications and programmes, and organised major events, as we pursued our mission of transforming society positively.”

> At Nation Media, Stubborn Business Daily Editor Exits

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BT Reporter
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