Star newspaper in crisis as business desk collapses

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Star-relaunch Star newspaper in crisis as business desk collapses
The newspaper has been limping since the March 2016 redesign.

The Star newspaper is faced with a crisis after the exit of journalists that has left its business desk nearly empty.

Two business reporters – Richard Mungai and Martin Mwita – have resigned over the past one month in unclear circumstances and it is understood that even the acting business editor Constant Munda is on his way out.

Insiders at Radio Africa Group say Munda, who has been acting for eight months now, after the exit of Lola Okulo in October last year, is serving notice and will be out soon.

The exodus appears to be a protest against management which, it is said, has been micromanaging the desk and giving them “unrealistic targets” on delivery of stories.

The desk is running with a business editor managing interns. When Munda leaves, the desk will virtually be empty.

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Munda could be frustrated by acting for too long without substantive powers and job description, while the reporters felt a vacuum on the desk which had led to ego fights.

“And then there was too much pressure and micromanagement,” said a Star journalist who has been closely following events on the business desk at Lion Place. “The top editors and management are always on their necks for big stories.”

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The Star newspaper has been shaky over the past one year due to falling circulation and ad revenues. It was forced to sack a good number of employees in February this year to stay afloat but that has not lifted revenues.

The newspaper is said to be surviving on the government newspaper insert, MyGov which is the only assured commercial in the Star these days.

There has been talk of the newspaper folding up after the next elections to let the group focus on digital and radio.

[crp]