This article has been updated to reflect latest changes
Big names including senior editors are among journalists that Nation Media Group (NMG) is reportedly laying off as it trims its payroll. The company started issuing redundancy letters to employees earmarked for the sack just hours after NMG Group CEO, Mr Stephen Gitagama, issued a notice of reorganisation in a circular on 30th November, 2022.
In the notice, he warned that the changes would be ‘unsettling’ but necessary in building the NMG of the future. Indeed, last evening news started filtering out over possible names on their way out – a fat list that has left the media industry wondering what Nation Centre will look like once the restructuring music stops playing.
The changes read like an unpacking of newsroom allies of former Editor-in-Chief Mutuma Mathiu, who was in early November reassigned to the role of Consulting Editor and replaced by Mr Joe Ageyo as Editorial Director.
Preliminary reports show one of the biggest casuálties in the retrenchment is the Kenya Editors Guild President, Mr Churchill Otieno, who has been Head of News and Managing Editor. Mr Churchill has been at Nation for decades, rising through the ranks. He previously worked as managing editor digital before being appointed head of development and learning. He is currently serving his last term as KEG president, a welfare organization representing senior journalists in Kenya.
Mr Churchill’s exit comes just weeks after a shakeup of the Daily Nation top management which saw Managing Editor Bernard Mwinzi moved to the position of managing editor value-added content and the return of Pamela Sittoni to the helm of DN as executive editor.
Another bigshot said to have been pushed out is Political and Parliamentary Affairs Editor, Mr Guchu Ndung’u. Mr Peter Ngare, long-serving managing editor for Taifa Leo, NMG’s Kiswahili publication, has also been sent home. Taifa Leo Features Editor Muthoni Kariuki is also leaving.
According to reports from insiders at Nation Centre, other journalists who have received their letters include senior investigative reporter Vincent Achuka and news reporter Silas Apolo.
More letters are being issued today with tension high at Nation Centre. “This one is massive,” a senior journalist at Nation told BT.
Group CEO Stephen Gitagama said the recent shift in the company’s operational strategy geared at accelerating growth had necessitated extremely difficult decisions, which will include some of its employees losing their jobs. “Regrettably, this refocus will result in a reorganisation of our workforce,” he said.