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Radio Africa begins rationing office tea using automated machine

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Next time you visit a journalist at Radio Africa, just be careful not to ask for tea or coffee. The company, moving to cut down on costs, has introduced an automatic tea machine to serve its employees – and it’s not doing any justice to journalists.

The tea vending machine, which is allocated a certain amount of tea and sugar, has been programmed to last the whole month at the rate of one cup per person per day.

Unfortunately, an insider reports, the machine often runs out of sugar and other ingredients just half-way the month, and tea lovers have to wait for the auto-renewal at the beginning of the next month or spend their cash at nearby restaurants.

Previously staff had tea supply throughout and an option of coffee from the vending machine. This time it’s only tea, and Cardamom tea for that matter. The difference with this new machine is that it is part of the company Enterprise Resource Planning where operations, including editing and writing, are monitored and logged into the system.

One newspaper for all

Just after firing a good number of employees to cut costs, Radio Africa appears to have turned the scalpel to internal operations that drive up the company’s expenses. The management also has cut supply of external newspapers – Nation, Standard, Business Daily and the East African –  to all its editors. The newsroom is served by only one copy each of these newspapers and editors are being forced to buy their own copies.

The Star newsroom alone has over 10 editors and over 30 reporters, not to mention designers. Now they are all expected to share one newspaper. Editors in most media houses get all the papers so they can check out their competition’s coverage of various issues. This helps in preparing the editor/reporter for the day and in terms of benchmarking as well.


“This is crazy,” said an editor who works for The Star newsroom. “How does someone expect all of us to share one paper?”

Now most editors are forced to go online to get a feel of the competition editorial content, while others are just reading their own Star newspaper. The situation has been complicated by the fact that the media house converged its newsroom, with radio, print and digital teams sharing resources.


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BT Correspondent
BT Correspondenthttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
editor [at] businesstoday.co.ke
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