Friday, September 9, 2011


When you want something real bad nothing deters you from achieving it even when skeptics say that it is practically impossible.

When I made my first application to the Standard Group, I knew that I was doing the right right was I that I made three more applications with one being sent by a courier service just in case the others got lost in the mail.

Finally the call for me to go for an interview came, I expected to be heading to Nairobi but that is hard to come by especially if your postal address reads Mombasa.

Nothing I ever learnt in class prepared me for my first day at the bureau. I got to the office and apart from a few pleasantries there was not much that I got form the other journalists.

I sat there in the newsroom keeping myself busy with every newspaper I could get a hold of as journalist after another walked out to an assignment.
In less than half an hour the office was empty, everyone was out in the field but I just sat there all cold and lonely like a mortuary.

But around midday they started streaming in each punching away their stories to beat the newspaper, television and radio deadlines. Everyone seeking their on space if I had made my maiden entrance at that particular time I would have mistaken that office for a madhouse.

When I left the office that evening I prayed to God that the next day would not be another cold room experience. I vividly recall my first day in the field I accompanied one of the journalist to an assignment feeling very accomplished.

When we got to the office he did his story and I was left hanging, someone challenged me to write my story and then later on compare it with his. I wrote it the first time, and rewrote it three more times because I had missed the angle.

I accompanied other journalists to assignments in days that followed and with time learnt how to pick out the most news worthy angles in the story.
Soon I was going on assignments on my own, doing stories for both print and radio used to the pressures of meeting deadlines.

The diary in the office where assignments are noted can helped in planning but there was still a large possibility that a bigger story could break at any minute anytime anywhere and at that moment you would have to drop whatever you were doing, and go for that story regardless.

Working irregular hours for six days a week could not surpass the joy of waking up every morning not knowing what the future holds for that day. The thrill of walking into that office compared only to walking into an abyss of possibilities and uncertainty.

The day my lecturer came to asses me, a big story had broken in the early morning, the police had nabbed a drug haul and arrested suspects. We did not have time to talk for long because my editor sent me for an assignment almost immediately.

For the six months that I was there I was exposed to a lot that goes on in the journalistic world and learnt how to report on different beats from health to business, form courts to science, more so on human interest stories.

It was not always a bed of roses; there were times when I would get to the house at midnight or even later than that because there was a story that need to be covered. Times when I had to give up my off day to go to the office an file a story that I covered late into the night.

I quickly networked with other journalists and joined various media association like Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK), Media for Science Health and Agriculture (MESHA) and the Kenya Correspondents Association which have provided me with numerous opportunities to train and invaluable information which I used in writing stories.

Being a journalist is passion driven and working in any organization let alone mainstream media provides and adequate opportunity for one to expose themselves.

My outfit was the Standard Group which helped expose writing abilities that I hardly knew existed. But even without the outfit I am still a journalist and that is why I am currently freelancing until I get the next outfit that fits perfectly.

I became a journalist the minute I decided to follow my dream and am glad that through it all I never looked back.

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