Media / Watchdog
Saturday, 14 Jan 2017 17:54 EAT
Kenya's largest media company, the Nation Media Group, was scooped by dozens of websites to its own story of changes the firm had made in its editorial department. Hours after the Nation fired a number of journalists, including senior editors, on Wednesday, the news had inundated the blogosphere, with reports on the subject in this website and others.
Later on Thursday, with the Nation newsroom filled with speculation as to who else would be let go, the newpaper group's editor-in-chief Tom Mshindi transmitted a staff memo informing reporters about the changes, and once again alternative news sites seized on the news, with the Kenya Free Press analysing the scope of the changes and strategy informing them. It was not until Friday night when the Nation website reported on the developments within the company, a version of which the print edition carried this morning.
Did the Nation goof in reporting on the changes much later after everyone who wanted to know the story had got it from elsewhere? Certainly not. Being the source of the news, the Nation was/is the sole authority on the subject and its employees and the general public looked to its own news. In fact, its possible that the paper's story has got more attention than it would normally have had without the interest generated about the changes by the online newspapers and social media commentary on the subject. Which, in the end, is a victory for viral marketing (which the paper certainly needs).
To some analysts, however, the delay in informing the public about the changes which were being implemented to augment an "online-first" strategy indicted the firm's preparedness for that strategy, signifying a sort of failure at the very start of a new journalism and business framework.