The Radio Africa Group has announced editorial changes especially in the digital segment for The Star newspaper ahead of 2022 general elections.
In an internal memo by the Group’s Head of Content Paul Ilado, the changes are aimed at incorporating audio, photos, videos, text, and infographics on all platforms of the newspaper as a way of attracting more audience and generating more revenues.
Nancy Agutu has been appointed as the Digital Lead. She will be tasked with making The Star dominate the breaking news segment. Key duties will include constantly engaging reporters and correspondents from all desks to ensure the newspaper is the first to break news. Previously, she has served as a senior digital reporter for The Star newspaper.
James Mbaka has been appointed as the Deputy Political Editor. Apart from deputising the Political Editor, Mbaka will ensure all breaking political stories plus riveting analysis of the political events get to Radio and The Star website daily. He has previously served as a senior political writer for The Star.
Chege Maiti will be the new Ecoh Desk Assistant in an acting capacity. Miati will assist the Ecoh Desk Team leader in managing the Social Media team to ensure it effectively delivers alongside ensuring all Social Media handles are always up to date with “quality and accurate content”. Maiti has been serving as a digital marketer for Radio Africa Group.
“Most readers want content that incorporates audio, photos, videos, text, and infographics. Readers also prefer receiving similar content via multiple platforms including email and social media. We have no choice but serve them as well. We all must embrace and deepen a digital-first mindset,” said Ilado.
“This means that the Internet drives most decisions we make including how who covers news, when, in what form, and how fast. In this setup, we are all obligated to share information with the public as soon as we know it since the hottest topics trend more and are likely to appeal to audiences as soon as they come out. This is unlike in traditional way in which we had to wait until the next publication to share news.”
From January 1, 2022, all the editors will insist that each writer submits a script, edited video or edited audio and a good picture.
“We have previously shared apps that can help all of us edit videos, audio and generate graphics. Stories will be incomplete without those elements. Let’s all make certain we polish our skills this month as we prepare to monetise our content,” added Ilado.
The changes took effect on December 2, 2021.
Aside from The Star, Radio Africa controls several radio stations including Radio Jambo and K**s as well as online platform Mpasho.
Legacy media players including market-leader Nation Media Group (NMG) have in the past year accelerated their digital transformation plans by launching paywalls and upgrading digital content offerings, a move attributable to factors including shifting consumer trends over many years and Covid-19 re-shaping of everyday life.
The Star is Kenya’s third-biggest newspaper by circulation after The Nation and Standard newspapers. Its website is also among Kenya’s most visited websites, ranking 46th on Alexa as of December 12, 2021.
In October 2021, Francis Mureithi was appointed as Digital Editor for Radio Africa Group. Mureithi has since 2016 been the group’s News Editor. Mureithi took over from Oliver Mathenge who had been the group’s Digital Editor for the past five years.
Former Daily Nation journalist Jillo Kadida, who had been Deputy News Editor and leader of the Court team, was in October appointed to take over as News Editor from Mureithi.