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November 14, 2018

Strathmore, UoN to train business writers

DON: Strathmore University’s Dr George Njenga.
DON: Strathmore University’s Dr George Njenga.

TWO universities — Strathmore University and the University of Nairobi — are in talks to open a school of business journalism, to teach practical skills in the field.

Dean of Strathmore Business School George Njenga said the school, whose details are still being discussed, would offer certificate, diploma, bachelors and masters degree qualifications in business reporting.

The courses will be taught using a mix of approaches including classroom-based learning, online and field studies, to empower business journalists tell the African story, he said.

“Financial journalism in Kenya is still far from being inclusive to all. Most local consumers of business news still rely on international media outlets for comprehensive business reports,” he said.

He said local institutions need to take responsibility for how local economic related stories are told, because they shape what is truth in the society.

He spoke during a graduation ceremony for journalists who took a six-month financial journalism executive training course sponsored by Bloomberg Media Initiative for Africa in Nairobi.

Some 90 learners from Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe were awarded with a practical skills certificate in financial journalism after studying skills including accounting, public policy and data journalism taught in two group sessions, which started in April and July last year.

The course, funded by Bloomberg Media Initiative to the tune of $1 million (Sh101.8 million) is under implementation in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya, and will build capacity for media organisations and civil society to advance deeper understanding of business journalism, accountability, social justice, innovation and data to promote good governance in Africa.

Harun Mwangi, chief executive of Media Council of Kenya, said the country needs consistent, well-grounded journalists who can critically analyse financial reports and public expenditure using facts and evidence, and simplify it for consumption by ordinary Kenyans, and hold the government accountable.

He warned counties against using journalists to hide graft in public offices by giving them high-income jobs.

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