Celebrating how I Started Journalism -Reflections of my first days as a reporter
Some years ago this week, I walked to a Standard Bureau Office in Embu;
ME: Excuse me, I would want to be your reporter
Admin: What makes you believe you can be a journalist?
Me: I have just completed High School and I believe i can write a good composition
Admin: Journalism and Composition writing are very different
Me: Kindly assign me a challenge and see what i can do
The Admin then sent me to Kangaru Coffee Factory where Farmers were facing off with their cooperative managers.
On arrival i introduced myself to the guards, who asked me to wait, they consulted with their managers and in a matter of minutes they allowed me in.
As soon as i walked in a group of men lifted me and took me to the grinding area where they whipped me accusing me of being part of the journalists who had made the factory lose its name.
Lucky for me one of the men recognized me and alerted @Martin Gitau who lived near the area and together with a team of local youth they came and saved me – My initiation to journalism had started harshly.
My next assignment was to the Stadium to cover the National Celebrations.
It was drizzling – I made a note on my notebook.
Then there were two men with the traditional Kanu tie on the main dais – I made a note
A policeman who noted me taking notes pulled me aside and told me 6 girls from Nthagaiya girls had been arrested the previous night and they were at the Embu Police Station – I made a note.
The Mayor spoke about the market saying something that i cannot read from my first ever journalist note book
The PC was clear they would deal with bandits – I noted
The process of filing a story is very memorable, pick the phone and ask for a reverse call and then you dictate a story as someone on the other end typed it in…
Then came my chance to write the story
” As rain fell in Embu stadium and 6 students of Nthagaiya girls were arrested…” I did not even finish…..”You cannot be a journalist, go become a Cyclist”
The main correspondent filed the story.
I did not give up. I continue(d) attending functions and none of my story went to print.
Then two weeks later, a minister was in Mbeere – all the senior journalists followed him.
Meanwhile in Embu town a brew killed several people, i rushed to hospital and got my details posing a relative to one of those affected.
Prime position and i heard all the story – the reverse call was granted and i dictated my story as the editor on the other side taught me the 5w’s and a H and the 30 word rule for intro’s.
I hit my first Headline, complete with a By- Line – I will be celebrating that moment without a doubt.
Nation’s @Peter Leftie Mudibo and @Mike Kamau deserves special mention for the role they played in shaping my entry into a newsroom.