The Star newspaper

The Star newspaper has begun rebuilding its business desk, which was left in tatters after a mass exodus of journalists. It is not clear what instigated their resignations, but inside sources say it had to do with a fallout with management.

First to go was Business Editor Lola Okulo in October last year, followed by some uneasy stability, which came to a head in May when the two main writers, Richard Mungai and Martin Mwita, resigned, followed closely by acting Business Editor Constant Munda. Munda has since joined the Business Daily, owned by Nation Media Group.

But sources say The Star newspaper management has already recruited two experienced writers – Abel Muhatia and Victor Amadala – who have joined Cynthia Ilako on the business desk. “The guys are settling in and they should soon pick up speed,” said a source at The Star.

More journalists are expected to join the desk, with one of them being picked to head the others as business editor. Assembling a team of journalists to a cohesive level is not easy task and it may take the Star nearly a year to have a strong desk that sings from the same hymn book.

Muhatia is understood to have honed his journalistic skills at the People Daily, where he worked briefly before going into online journalism. Amadala, on the other hand, was poached from Dhahabu, a business blog run by unattached journalists.

The blogosphere, which has provided a play field for journalists who can’t secure space in mainstream newspapers, has become a hunting ground for media houses looking for business journalists to mentor.

The new business team at the Star comes in at a critical time when the newspaper is fighting for life in a market that’s shifting towards digital. Ad revenues have fallen though the elections campaigns are providing the much-needed relief for smaller players in the newspaper segment.

The Star editorial management will also have to give the business section more serious focus, with more pages and motivation, to motivate the  new team and revamp a crucial beat that attracts corporate advertising in the its bigger rivals, Daily Nation and The Standard.

[crp]

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