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NMG Shake-Up: James Smat Takes Up Senior New Role

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James Smat has been named by Nation Media Group (NMG) as its new Managing Editor for Newsroom production, as part of a shake-up at Kenya’s largest media house. Smat, an experienced media personality, rejoined NMG in September 2020 to lead its podcast division as the company redesigned its operations in an attempt to keep up with fast-evolving media consumption trends.

In 2021, he also rolled out a new talk-show on NTV dubbed ‘With All Due Respect’. The show brought on guests for debates and discussions on socio-economic and political issues in the country.

In his new role, Smat will be in charge of the timely delivery of content by NMG platforms, as well as optimizing output. He will lead diverse production teams and will also be responsible for editorial branding and quality and legal control of output.

A notice from NMG indicated that he would also be responsible for ‘sharing learnings and best practices to raise editorial standards.’

Smat has been a familiar face in Kenyan media for over a decade – starting out as a sports journalist at Capital FM, before moving on to become a news anchor and presenter at NTV. It was at NTV that he pioneered popular Friday night show The Trend, later hosted by Larry Madowo and Amina Abdi Rabar.

READ>End Of An Era As Nation Media Pushes Out Its Senior Most Editor

After leaving Nation, Smat joined rivals KTN as a news anchor and presenter, and hosted the show News Sources alongside Dennis Onsarigo. He quit in 2017 to venture into private business, and engaged in communications consultancy for the next three years.

Also promoted in the latest NMG shake-up is Oliver Mathenge, who in 2021 joined Nation Media Group (NMG) as a multi-media editor. He was previously at Radio Africa Group (RAG) where he worked as the digital editor.

Mathenge has been named as the Managing Editor – Audience and Engagement at NMG. He will be responsible for, among other things, increasing brand reach and implementing paywall strategies to drive revenues.

Despite pulling its paywall down before the elections with the promise that it would be restored after the polls, Nation is yet to restore the paywall on its flagship digital platform nine months later. Like other legacy media companies, it has struggled to sustainably monetize online content and remains keen on accelerating its digital transformation.

READ>Standard Media Group Taps Former KQ Director To Join Its Board


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