Nation Media Group (NMG) has over the past two weeks been silently laying off employees, including journalists, as it consolidates its operations into a converged newsroom. Making good its 27th June notice to retrench, the company’s human resources managers have issued redundancy letters to journalists who do not “fit” in the new order of operations.
A number of revise editors, reporters, online video producers and magazine editors have been sent home. There has, however, been an outcry over the manner in which the retrenchment has been carried out, with young and newly recruited journalists being asked to leave.
This is the second time in a year that NMG offloading journalists from its payroll. In the December 2022 sacking top names including news anchor Mark Masai were let go. “It’s scary and confusing,” said a senior editor who appears to have survived the purge. “I knew I was going, though I can’t be too sure. I don’t understand the criteria they are using to pick guys to go.”
NMG says it is shifting to a centralised newsdesk for all its platforms across newspapers, TV and Radio, a move that has left a number of people without jobs. Editorial Director, Mr Joe Ageyo, says the new business strategy leans towards a converged and centralised newsroom where NMG will only publish and air commissioned stories that have passed the quality threshold.
Some journalists who were poached just one year ago from other media houses are among those who have been sacked, pointing to a sinister motive in NMG’s regular poaching attacks. Some say it could be using its financial muscle to attract top talent to weaken its rivals, and eventually dump them.
Regardless, NMG is no longer the safe employer it boasted of years back and many journalists will begin to think twice before crossing over to the so-called twin tower.
To help manage the sacking and its attendant pressure, the company has been running an “Employee Assistance Program” for professional counselling. It has retained Build and Restore Counselling Services, through which employees can “manage stress and access post-traumatic counselling services.”