December 12th 2017

Media / Watchdog

Star newspaper hires David Makali as Radio Africa seeks new relevance in tight market

A management source in The Star informed this newspaper that Makali's hiring is part of a new effort by the Radio Africa Group "to reposition The Star as the third largest newspaper that it used to be until recently."

By Free Press Reporternewsdesk@kenyafreepress.comWednesday, 29 Nov 2017 10:58 EAT

Makali at a previous press conference.

Veteran journalist David Makali has reported for work at the Lion Place, head office of The Star newspaper and Radio Africa Group that owns the publication among other broadcast channels, as the new head of content.

Makali replaces former editor in chief Charles Kerich who has taken up appointment as the cabinet secretary for information and communications in the Nairobi county government under Governor Mike Sonko. His position as head of content gives him responsibility for all editorial operations of Radio Africa Group, but The Star newspaper will be his primary portfolio.

A management source in The Star informed this newspaper that Makali's hiring is part of a new effort by the Radio Africa Group "to reposition The Star as the third largest newspaper that it used to be until recently." The Star remains the third largest newspaper by daily circulation, and that description conveyed its decline as an authoritative news source that in its heydays rivaled the Daily Nation and The Standard in political coverage.

Educated at Moi University and Columbia in New York, Makali, a former managing editor of The Sunday Standard, was long respected for his superb editing, leadership and a left-leaning bent, but for nearly ten years he has consorted with the Jubilee establishment, dabbling in politics where he twice contested the Bungoma senatorial seat, performing dismally both times.

Part of Makali's brief is to ensure a revamp of The Star's daily news and analysis pages to reflect the wishes of an ambitious newspaper that its founders had in mind ten years ago, the source said. Makali is currently being introduced to bosses today and will hold a meeting with the full newsroom by the weekend, according to information reaching this website.

If he gets all the support he needs, Makali has it takes to reshape the paper in a couple of weeks. But the main challenge he would face is an entrenched system in which the paper currently has hardly any editor in its desks capable of leading a modern news operation. 

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