Being sacked can be very delicate information to digest. Many recoil and withdraw from normal daily activity, trying to figure out what could have gone wrong. Others walk away in silence and let the empty desk speak for them.
Well, at Nation Media Group, a senior newspaper editor laid off in the current restructuring choose to do it differently: he broke his own news of being sacked!
Churchill Otieno, who has been head of news for Daily Nation, found himself a subject of news after the Nation Media Group decided to do away with him and other journalists as it trims its payroll.
Not keen on not letting his sacking to be fodder for rumour mill, he took to his keyboard and banged an email to his colleagues – not a strange thing but quite unusual in a society where losing a job is highly stigmatized. “After spending the last two decades building breaking news platforms,” Churchill wrote yesterday, “the time has come for me to break my own news.”
If you have ever been sacked, there so much that goes on in one’s mind at such a time – from anger, frustration, feelings of betrayal to regrets and denial. This can easily lead to a paralysis of thought. So, composing yourself to draft a sober email takes a high level of courage and discipline – even if, as often is, the communication is just for donning a brave face.
This is how Churchill Otieno, who is also the President of Kenya Editors Guild (KEG), delivered his sacking news:
“It’s time for me to leave the Nation Media Group. It has been a privilege to serve at NMG, and a prodigious honour to be part of the most committed team of journalists and media professionals in Africa,” he wrote.
Churchill’s sacking came at the most inopportune time. As president of KEG, he is hosting the editors’ annual convention in Mombasa which has been running from 30th November and slated to conclude on 4th December 2022. But that’s media for you: someone else may have been fired while reading news, or while grinding his bones on the beat.
Like many others pushed out of a job, nostalgic feelings are inevitable and putting them down in writing and sharing with others can offer some cathartic release. “I walk away with lots of fond memories in my heart and compelling lessons in my mind, all rolling into many impactful stories over the years,” Churchill said in his email.
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