The restructuring currently going on at Nation Media Group (NMG) has hit the television studio with reports that top anchors and reporters are slated for the chop. Already, BT has been told that NTV news anchor Mark Masai is out, as NMG deepens its payroll cuts hoped to keep it afloat in a fledging media industry.
NMG Group CEO Stephen Gitagama has lived to his 30th November 2022 promise of “unsettling changes” that the company must make to survive the current economic slow-down from the Covid-19 hangóver and general gloom.
Sources at Nation Centre indicate that Mark Masai, who anchors prime time news and doubles as talkshow host, may have been sacrificed among employees targeted for earning big salaries. The newspaper division of NMG has already seen big names – including Kenya Editors Guild President Churchill Otieno and Taifa Leo Managing Editor Peter Ngare – leave as part of reforms engineered by Mr Gitagama and new editorial director, Mr Joe Ageyo.
Mr Masai is arguably one of the finest news anchors in Kenya with a formidable grasp of current affairs and political trends. Actually, he is among the few sober anchors on TV today, having succeeded in avoiding the celebrity bug to cloud his professional and personal lives.
Mark Masai hosts Press Pass programme where panelists discuss media-related issues. His journey to the screen began at just 22 years old when he joined NTV in 2008 and made his first appearance as one of the youngest prime news TV anchors in Kenya then. Masai has spent most of his career time at NTV, with a short stint at CCTV Africa (now CTGN).
According to an insider at NMG’s HR office, the retrenchment is targeting “joyriders” and big earners. The person explained that NMG has a good number of “ghost workers” who have been burdening the payroll without clear job descriptions. On the other hand, the person noted, some employees are drawing salaries that are way too high.
From a political perspective, media watchers are seeing a Nation Media Group bending backwards to appease the political lords in State House, who have reportedly demanded the exit of journalists seen as hostile to the establishment.
It is said the government is dangling the advertisement carrot and a restriction stick for mainstream media houses to undertake reforms geared at taming newsrooms in favour of the current government. In the current reforms, Daily Nation’s Political and Parliamentary Affairs Editor, Mr Guchu Ndung’u, has left and so have reporters Vincent Achuka and Silas Apolo.