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Going Broke, Panic Grips Star Newspaper Journalists As Salaries Delay And Mass Lay Offs Lined



Radio Africa Group Managing Director Patrick Quarcoo

Radio Africa Group Managing Director Patrick Quarcoo

All is not rosy at the Radio Africa Limited print department according to information getting to Kenya Insights from the insiders. In a confidential memo dated August 1, 2016, tipped to us originating from the Chief Operating Officer Agnes Kalekye and copied to Benjamin Otido, Cathy Oganga, Robert Kibutiri and William Pike, the salaries for the Month of August were delayed for up to six days for both junior and senior staff members.

The Star recently relaunched with a new look in what was expected to boost the sales of the newspapers, but our source in the company say things have worked in contrary. Sales have reduced drastically from average 20,000 copies a day to a mere 10,000 copies throwing accountants into the panic.

The burden of sustaining the salaries is getting heavier, and the management is considering laying off its staff to a manageable size. The Star which has cut a niche as the Number one’s newspaper for politics has scared off some soft advertisers who don’t want to be associated with the thick political theme that clouds the pages, a factor that our informant say has contributed towards low income.

There are grave fears that the management is seriously contemplating retrenching employees who now stand at 600 in a bid to contain cost and optimise profits. Faced with stiff competition from the digital trend and the consumer’s consumption shift to digital phase, traditional media like radio, tv, newspapers are restructuring their systems to adopt with the new order.

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Nation Media Group was recently forced to shut down it’s two radio stations and QTv following poor remittance and opted to merge the TV stations and shift the radio stations to the online platform only. Digital migration of audience has dealt a significant blow to the media houses which now have no other but to chase after the consumers who’re steadily dumping the traditional media. However, this shouldn’t be seen as the death of traditional media, it’s far from going dead, the companies just have to formulate strategies to have them blend for survival.

Mostly to be affected in the anticipated Star shakeup are subeditors and senior reporters who were poached from other media houses with high salaries and allowances which cannot be met now due to weak sales. Upcountry reporters are also a bitter lot as they never receive their pay and allowances in time.

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Kenya West is a trained investigative independent journalist and a socio-political commentator on matters Kenya and Africa. Do you have a story, Scandal you want me to write on? Send me tips to [[email protected]]


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