Wednesday, 03 Jul 2013

A refuge for regional journalists

By Julius Kemboi
“The most disappointing experience I have ever had as a journalist is to watch, read or listen to a poorly done story in the media from an event I attended knowing I could have done better if only I had resources,” says Sayare Radio News Editor Alex Mmera, who is a frequent user of Internews media resource centre in Eldoret.
Mmera visits the centre every day - to supervise a team of reporters from his radio station, who produce their stories from the centre, and to do his own stories. He remembers an incident that happened three years ago when over 120 people lost their lives in Sachangwan, Molo, after a tanker ferrying petrol overturned and burst into flames as locals siphoned petrol from it. “Even though we are a local station we had to rely on national media houses or calls from listeners living near the site of the tragedy who gave us information that we could not verify,” he says.
Mmera says things have since turned around with the inception of a media resource centre in Eldoret by Internews in Kenya. The centre was established after the 2007-2008 post-election violence. At the center, Internews trains and mentors journalists working in the Rift Valley region. The journalists also use the facility to make free calls to the sources of their stories and to produce stories for different media.
Earlier this year Mmera was among journalists who received mentoring support to cover the March 4 General Election and preceding campaigns in Kenya.
“During previous elections, we didn’t give our listeners what they deserved because we could not move around and had no place to gather and analyze the information. But with the resource centre this time we researched and produce better stories,” he says. “You cannot do a good story without researching and without having the necessary tools to do it.”
After being trained by Internews, Mmera now heads the Sayare Radio newsroom which runs five news bulletins a day in different languages, reaching out to three million listeners across the region. The centre was instrumental in helping journalists in the region do in-depth stories during the election period.
“We have had instances where the centre was not open because of long holidays and this affected the uality of stories I received. It is not only costly to go to the cyber cafés but apart from computers they do not have the other tools we need. Many of the stories I received were half baked,” says Mmera.

The center is equipped with production facilities and trainers who support a minimum of 15 Journalist a day to do stories. - See more at:

Media Matters Blog - latest posts

The untouchables

For nine days and with no explanation, 8.4 million customers of Equity Bank were unable to withdraw cash from ATMs forcing them to rely on over-the-counter manual withdrawals. The customers waited patiently for the mainstream media to shed light on what had caused the hitch in vain.  A statement from the bank on what caused ... Read more

Safe to speak: Securing freedom of information in media

The Media Council of Kenya recently set up a press freedom monitoring portal to record incidents of violence against journalists. Going through the portal, I am amazed at the high number of incidences reported; from the two Nation Media Group journalists who were attacked by the General Service Unit officers in Kibera to The Star ... Read more

How mentoring boosted my career in journalism

My long walk with the media started at Metro FM after I graduated from Daystar University in the early part of this century. I was the love doctor on the Metro love zone. But despite building a reasonable following and playing great love ballads which I enjoyed tremendously, there was no hiding that the show ... Read more

Journalists’ right to information now guaranteed

As the media and the country await legislation on the right to information, a judge in a recent case has given direction as to who can access any information held by the State. High Court Judge Mumbi Ngugi ruled in a case in which Nairobi Law Monthly Limited, publisher of the Nairobi Law Monthly, had ... Read more

Share this page