Royal Media Services, which owns Citizen TV, has fired some of its top journalists, in a re-structuring exercise. Topping the list is Citizen Business Center Host Terryanne Chebet, who was poached from Uhuru-owned K24. Prior to joining K24, Terryanne, a single mother of one, was at CCTV. Terryanne Chebet missed Citizen Business Center this week, with Janet Mbugua taking over her slot.
Kirigo Ng’arua Out
Other big names that have been shown the door are Kirigo Ng’arua, and Shisia Wasilwa. Kirigo Ng’arua has been Power Breakfast show Host for some time, doubling up as a struggling anchor always gasping for breath during bulletins. This has been attributed to her dark and puffy lifestyle, which is in public domain. Kirigo’s position has since been taken care of by Fred Indimuli who was poached from Radio Africa and Joey Muthengi
Shisia Wasilwa’s exit could be one of the shocks at SK Macharia’s media house. Shisia Wasilwa’s proficiency as a Swahili journalist is almost unmatched. He has been a producer and senior reporter. Wasilwa has also worked with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
Corrupt and Unethical
But Shisia Wasilwa’s career at RMS has not been that clean. His integrity hangs in balance for now. He has been a victim of bribery otherwise, brown envelope journalism. Last year, Shisia, together with top editors were suspended for allegedly receiving millions from prominent politicians to kill stories that touched on them. Boring Swaleh Mdoe was also in the ring. Others were Kimeli – Assignment Editor, Daniel Korir –Editor, Yusuf Lakicha Ali – News Editor, Mwanahamisi Hamadi, and Kendagor Obadiah (who was sacked alongside Evelyne Wambui, Patrick Injendi and sexy Pheonah Kenga) …etc.
Editorial Shake up
Reports making rounds on social media further reveal that Mercy Oburu, a household name at RMS has also been declared redundant. Patrick Mathagani nicknamed fathangani has also been expunged from the payroll. Abdi Osman, an Associate Editor, and an accomplished broadcast journalist has not been spared either. Abdi is probably one of the greatest and finest talents that RMS killed by putting him on the desk. He is talented and professional, having worked with Sky News. He is still prolific and with a future
The move, which the RMS MD Wachira Waruru says aims at re-structuring following dwindling fortunes has also hit Citizen’s TV’s Camera Unit. Head of the Unit, John Marete is said to have been fired too. Other senior camera men who have left the prestigious Hurlingham based station are Musomba and Munene.
Radio Citizen loses Young
The retrenchment wave at RMS is so intense that no department will be left unshaken, at least according to Waruru in a memo dished out to all staff on Wednesday 26 October. Big names at Radio Citizen like Young, and Philip Murutu have also been struck off from the system.
Why Media Houses are sacking stuff
The unprecedented firing at RMS is not the first on our motherland. It has become a norm. Journalist jumping from one employer to another. Today, journos are simply media prostitutes looking for survival. But why do media houses have low retention for staff? here are some pointers to this worrisome trend.
Digital Journalism Age
If a memo from RMS MD Wachira Waruru is anything to go by, then then broadcast industry is indeed hostile, leading to a drop in revenues. This is largely attributed to the advent of new media, which have seen a dive in advertising money. The new emerging and disruptive technologies have also led to shrinking newsrooms through convergence. Here, one person assumes the functions of a number of people.
Overstaffing at RMS
You do not need a degree from Inorero to tell that RMS is over staffed almost in every department, leading to overlapping roles. Its editorial team is flooded with men and women, some of whom only warm seats and make technical appearance only to carry home fat salaries. This, is likely to be a thing of the past. For instance, RMS has Wachira Waruru (MD), Faridah Karoney (Chief Operating Officer,) Peter Opondo (no one knows what he does in the name of consultancy), Nixon Ng’ang’a (Brilliant ME), …with a contingent of irrelevant editors.
RMS, like her sister media houses has perfected the art of poaching. Hardly does a month go before a new voice or face makes appearance either on radio Citizen or Citizen TV. This culture, according to experts, is a costly affair. Some of the recently poached Hassan Mugambi, Salim Swaleh, Mercy Kandie, Sam Ogina, Joseph Njane, etc.
Models instead of Professionals
Kenya’s media houses are crowded with celebrities, comedians and models instead of professionals who have journalistic skills. Some of the big names rolling and turning the industry into an ecosystem of dumbest creatures and dwarfs are actually not journalists. Some (for ladies), slept their ways to the newsrooms and to the screens. No wonder the out of this world questions you will hear from the so-called 4th estate during press briefs. You will be surprised to learn that in media (Kenya in particular), whom you know supersedes what you know. It is high time media owners realized that journalism is a profession.
What Next for the Victims
Since life has to move on, RMS victims must play their cards well. Do not however be surprised to find some of the faces at KTN, NTV or K24, which have played scavenger role perfectly in the industry. For instance, when KTN disposed Mwanaisha Chidzuga, K24 said hallelujah and saw her as an angel. KTN on the other hand has several rejects across the screens. It is expected. Many will find themselves in the corporate world as Communication officers. We wish them well.