Down but not out! That’s how Mark Masai, the NTV news anchor laid off yesterday, has taken the decision by Nation Media Group management to sack him. Speaking moments after it emerged that he had been sent home, the prime time news presenter and talk-show host, said he had a ‘great run’ at Nation and it was time to move on.
“This is the reality of the media landscape around the world,” Masai said. “Unfortunately I was at the losing end of this one.”
Masai, an affable journalist with a firm personality, had worked for NMG for 14 years. He is among journalists who have been offloaded as part of the company’s restructuring in the face of reduced profitability.
Masai says don’t write him off yet – he has a bounce-back plan. “This is not the end of my career in the media,” said Masai, who has a strong interest in the film industry and is likely to go big on it. “I will be back on other platforms. All I have to say is watch this space.”
His exit will leave a gap at NTV and break him up with Smriti Vidyarthi, with whom he had created a very cordial working relationship on air. And in a market where top talent is about as hard to come by as finding an honest journalist, it will not be surprising to see Mark Masai joining another TV station in the next few weeks. Some journalists attached to NTV have also been sent home though their identities are still under wraps.
NMG is Kenya’s leading media house in terms of both geographical presence and earnings and is often used as a barometer for the media industry. The newspaper section, which is the largest department in NMG’s operations, producing its flagship Daily Nation brand, among other newspapers, was the hardest hit. A number of editors and reporters have already been served with sacking letters.
The Nation CEO Stephen Gitagama says the layoff, painful as it is looks, is necessary for the company to build the NMG of the future which leans more on technology and is nimble enough to survive the changing media consumption and income trends.
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