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SBS and Safaricom launch Journalists Fellowship

  Aug 4, 2014

Business Journalists in Kenya have so often been criticized for using jargon as well as for inaccurate financial or economic analysis in their writing and reporting. Journalists play a critical role not only in informing the public, but also in influencing their thoughts and decisions. They are our windows to society and to the world at large.” As Kenya starts to take its place in the world, conscientious journalism is more imperative than ever,” noted Bob Collymore the Chief Executive Officer of Safaricom.

Following the launch of the Safaricom Business Journalists Fellowship (SBJF) at Strathmore Business School (SBS), the future of business journalists in Kenya appears to be more promising than ever. Kenya has a multitude of people who own small businesses and as such, it is necessary that the media informs them in a manner that will guide their decision making.

The Safaricom Business Journalists Fellowship program is a partnership between SBS and Safaricom . The program will be in 3 modules throughout the year. The program has the core goal of having the participants graduate from the program with their certificate as well as with the proficiency and command needed to set apart their work from others. While giving his remarks, Dr. George Njenga, the Dean of SBS expressed his desire to see the level of business reporting rise to the international benchmark. “Hopefully, we will have our own Financial Times,” he said.

In his key-note address, Mr. Bob Collymore- Safaricom’s CEO explained Safaricom’s interest in financial journalism, which he hopes will be accomplished through the SBJF program. “As the largest, and most successful service provider in the region, Safaricom expectedly has keen interest in the quality of financial reporting in Kenya and this is an interest we share with our collaborator; the renowned and prestigious Strathmore Business School. The intention of this program is to give journalists an opportunity to sharpen their skills and perfect the complexity of their craft”, he said.

The Vice Chancellor of Strathmore University, Prof. John Odhiambo, emphasized the need of inculcating ethics in Journalism, stating that “It is important to have journalists who have personal ethical criteria that will help them take care of the dignity of the people they are reporting about.”

The Director of Corporate Affairs at Safaricom, Mr. Nzioka Waita, in his remarks, took the liberty to probe journalists on the rather shallow reporting of business and financial news. He pointed out the essence of asking the hard Q’s such as; could the global financial crisis of 2008 have been avoided had leading business commentators taken a critical look at the happenings? do business journalists have the relevant editorial gravitas? could the collapse of leading stock brokerage firms and parastatals in Kenya over the last two decades have been averted? among other questions. These questions point out the crucial roles played by business and financial journalists in driving the social and economic progress for any developing country.

The program will admit 15 of the most promising candidates in the first year, who will be taken through 3 modules whereby each module will contain four days of intense training. The course will also have nine integral half-day workshops, spread over the nine months. To spice up the program, journalists will also be hosted to dinner events where they will mingle with the leading news makers in Kenya.

Safaricom Business Journalists Fellowship is a step towards realizing a goal of quality journalism.

For more information about the program, Click here

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