Moral rot in Kenyan media: NMG in good company

January 31, 2007 at 6:08 pm 13 comments

“It’s crazy and sad, but I’m glad something is finally happening (about NMG),” is what a top-notch journalist friend had to say the moment he heard about the reported troubles at NMG.

Both Kumekucha and Kenyapolitical had some excellent write-ups on the incident; Kumekucha went as far as linking to an alleged letter from disgruntled NMG employees regarding the matter.

My journalist friend was one of my mentors in the trade in my days as a cub reporter at my alma mater’s student newspaper.

He – alongside a few others that also included Aco – was part of an editorial team that remains legendary in the history of Kenyan student journalism: They were just great!

In those days (till a while after I graduated), we used to print our student newspaper with the NMG; it was thus not unussual for some of our lead stories to appear in the NMG’s flagship publications.

But that’s besides the point…my journalist friend, and several others in his editorial team, naturally found themselves interning at the NMG; it’s this crowd that has helped launch some of the NMG’s outstanding products over the past few years.

My first visit to Kimathi Street was on the invitation of this journalist friend and another of his colleagues (a female, also from my alma mater); they were a happy lot at the time.

The next time I buzzed Kimathi Street, both – and scores of others – had left the NMG, citing sexual harassment from some of their seniors.

It is a miracle 2 of the seniors mentioned at the time continue to hold top editorial positions at NMG, pontificating once every week (yes, they are that important) on this or the other issue in society.

The NMG is not alone in this quagmire.

When I wanted to intern, I also applied to the NMG; I passed their aptitude test with flying colours but got no reply regarding when I could begin my duties (Trainning Editor at the time, Mr. Frank Whalley – a good man by all standards, I can’t fault him – could barely hide his suprise when I suggested that I had not heard from the NMG concerning my fate).

I walked away from the NMG to nearby Standard; two female colleagues from my university who had also “failed” to satisfy the NMG accompanied me.

At the Standard, the 2 ladies still “failed” to satisfy another top editor, so they ended up at the People Daily where – desperate for reporters but cash-strapped – they were an easy take for Kenneth Matiba’s media empire.

As for me, I refused to leave the newsroom (from around 8:30 am) till I met the Group Editorial Director (at around 1:00 pm).

When he called me into his office, he asked me to define journalism, went over my media portfolio and asked me to report for work immediately.

I had – graciously – succeeded where others had so “failed.”

My stint in the mainstream media would later impress on me the fact that the moral rot in the industry is mind-boggling to say the least; and it is not just about loose zips!

A clergyman friend often says that – in his prayers – he sees the NMG building along Kimathi Street collapsing one of these fine days.

How that will happen – or is happening – is something I pondered about somewhat the moment the latest tales emerged.


Entry filed under: Africa, Culture, HIV / Aids, Kenya, Literature, Media, Personals, Prophecy, Religion, Society, World.

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13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. alexcia  |  February 1, 2007 at 11:12 am


  • 2. aegeus  |  February 1, 2007 at 5:32 pm

    I eagerly await march 1st.

  • 3. olymwandishi  |  February 1, 2007 at 10:27 pm

    Jesse, I dont want to say too much right now coz you know I may still need this guys. But we need to get rdi of search practices otherwise we may have media houses full of, forgive me, K-street material. Word has it that at standard things are even thicker…enough said
    By the way this weekend, i will act on your request…was a bit tied up will talk to you later

  • 4. mwariwadavid  |  February 2, 2007 at 3:16 pm

    You write so well!

  • 5. ty  |  February 2, 2007 at 4:47 pm

    I have had the same predicaments with NMG as Jesse says.
    Having attended an aptitude test at the Nation, I was called for the second interview, this time a panel of three.
    It was after a week that i got calls from my pals congratulationg me for having succeded the interview.
    I must say I was in the dark since I had not received a call from Nation but to my surprise, the pals we had been interviewed with had been informed that among us all, I was the only one who had suceeded and will be soon joining the Group.
    I took the opportunity to call one of my insiders at the Nation and She/He confirmed the reamrks but told me to wait since he has not been told to call me by the bosses.
    Apparently, even my lecturers were amazad having been told I was in only to inform them later that i was yet to be called.
    Am still waiting u[p top date.

  • 6. Kenyananalyst  |  February 2, 2007 at 5:35 pm

    @ Alexia – That doesn’t describe it.

    @ Aegeus – Wait for it we shall God willing.

    @ Oly – Sawaz.

    @ Mwaridadi – Thanks for reading.

    @ Ty – Interesting, isn’t it, that you are still waiting to intern there.

  • 7. acolyte  |  February 6, 2007 at 2:18 am

    Thanks for the kudos, those were the good old days. As for the moral rot, I had heard those stories over and over. Sad thing is that this habit is also prevalant in the other media houses ie KTN, Capital etc. Merit went out of the window a long time ago in the media business. It takes determination of steel and faith to make it in that field and that is why alot of good journalistic talent in Kenya is going to waste.
    I want to wait and see how this whole issue turns out.

  • 8. wangai watoro  |  March 14, 2007 at 11:39 am

    To be true, Wangethi Mwangi and Wilfred Kiboro should now be in jail. What these two have presided over the years is not what any civilised society would want to be identified with. It would be sad indeed if Kenyans proceed to reward Kiboro with a parliamentary seat as he is said to be gunning for one. The government must also come in to investigate the rot at NMG and dish out punishement accordingly.

  • […] about the now infamous NMG sex scandal e-mails (still in relation to the gutter press), she said there was nothing they could do to police the […]

  • 10. Kalamashakla  |  July 13, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    I think this sex scandals and the idea of pressmen running for piola should end. There is this notorious Kisumu based correspondent Beuttah Omanga who is fond of running with Piola.

    Last week he ran away with money ment for lunch for four Kisumu journalists,Infact Omanga made awy with some Sh 30,000 given by a Western Kenyan Presidential aspirant.

    Omanga is a menace and all journalists in Kisii know about his bas conduct.

    Why cant police arrest this man who is a newroom menace,are they not seeing this man being a menace to the fourth estate.Omanga an untrainef journalist is messing up the county,Ok.

  • 11. huds  |  August 5, 2008 at 11:56 pm

    those affected go to police.,FIDA n the others human rights.Rest of staff,go back to work.IGNORE

    If u want Linus job,go back to school ,work hard n pray that the bosses notice u .PERIOD!

  • 12. Patrick Mwangi  |  February 13, 2010 at 6:12 am

    With all the English mistakes in these mails, I am just wondering whether the charges are genuine and whether they are being made by qualified journalists!

  • 13. Kabiero 100  |  May 3, 2011 at 12:44 am

    its amazing how pple get jobs


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