Nation Media Group’s Nakuru regional editor Stella Cherono has resigned sending the Kimathi street based company back to the drawing board.
This is as a mass exodus from the media house which was once ranked top three in the best companies to work for gathers pace due to uncertainty caused by the digital disruption.
Cherono, who handed in her resignation today after 12 years of giving her life to the company is according to credible sources headed to to a government institution.
She will join dozens of journalists who have in the last few years dumped their pen and note books to join the government.
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Her resignation has hit the company hard and will definitely send its bosses back to the drawing board as she was set to become the new crime editor replacing Vincent Achuka who was declared redundant last month.
Those in the know say talks to bring Cherono to Nairobi as part of wide ranging changes which would have seen several editors fired began last month.
Additionally, the redundancy exercises have been turned into an avenue to settle scores and promote cronies while securing jobs for high earning executives.
At the moment, correspondents are yet to get their contracts renewed for the second week running.
Sources say there is a stalemate between different factions within management on which correspondent is supposed to be fired and which one will still be employed this year.
For this reason, a big number of staff members have one foot in the company as they look for jobs elsewhere.
Infact reliable sources have told us that four staff members resigned today alone including an online editor who is headed to First Lady Rachel Ruto’s office.
Additionally at least 10 senior staffers are reported to be on their way out of the twin towers.
Western Kenya regional Editor Justus Wanga is said to be on his way out as well. Sources say Wanga, a solid political reporter, is not in good books with Executive Editor Pamela Sittoni who has vowed to clean the newsroom of those perceived to have been close with the former Editor in Chief Mutuma Mathiu.
NTV political reporter Kennedy Murithi has also left for Tharaka Nithi county government as the governor’s political advisor.
Before him, the deputy photo editor Jeff Angote also quit and now works at Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua’s office. Angote, despite giving in many years of service stagnated in his position from 2012. All other photographers are on contract.
The Commercial wing is also affected with reports the General Manager James Sogoti could be on his way to the standard as the next CEO.
What is shocking about the development is that NMG employees are even willing to take pay cuts instead of operate in what they describe as toxic work environment.
Online Editor Allan Olingo is said to have amassed unchecked powers which he has used to ursup all the editors around him on third floor.
Reporters say he is running the newsroom with an iron fist, dishing memos left right centre while issuing threats to everyone, something that has made the newsroom unfriendly.
Staffers fear crossing his path as he’s said to have Pamela’s ears, a fact he doesn’t hide. It’s common to have him drop Pamela’s name when issuing instructions to his juniors or even regional editors.
Olingo’s growing stature has dwarfed that of Alex Ndegwa who should ideally be the Head of the news hub courtesy of his experience and job group.
Sources on the third floor of Nation Centre, where the company’s bread and butter product, the Daily Nation is produced have also expressed concern that instead of focusing on the bigger picture which includes saving the sinking behemoth in the face of digital disruption, bosses are more concerned about turf wars ,saving their jobs and exercise of authority what others have christened as war of attrition.
The management at the twin towers is however not sitting pretty in the wake of reports that the Financial Times that has been engaged to come up with a clear revival plan might recommend drastic measures that could send the entire leadership to oblivion.
Having hobnobbed with the government of President Uhuru Kenyatta, the Aga Khan owned media House is struggling to find it’s bearing under William Ruto administration a matter complicated by dwindling revenue.
Despite firing journalists who were perceived to be close to the Kenyatta administration, Ruto has made it clear he has no interest in being linked to any media house as he won the presidency without their support.
Infact one of the first things the president did was to ignore the Nation Kusi Ideas Festival last month where he was to be chief guest even after giving the management his word that he will attend.