“Thanks to Internews – there was one journalist who didn’t ignore the story”
With these words a community leader in Kenya gave media industry stakeholders and dignitaries an indication of the true value of the journalism training done by Internews.
|Mzee Joseph Leboo|
Mzee Joseph Leboo, the chairman of the Lembu Council of Elders from the Koibatek District in eastern Kenya, was telling guests at Internews’s 30th Anniversary event in Nairobi that a journalists trained and supported by Internews uncovered corruption in the building of the Chemususu dam in his district.
“The expose of the journalist from Chamgei FM, Stanley Sugut, lead to the corrupt official having to repay the community through the building of new school classrooms”, said Leboo.
Sugut himself shared his experiences with the gathering. The Chamgei FM reporter received a mentored travel grant to report on a corruption case in the Rift Valley. The three features he produced revealed corrupt deals in the building of a dam and exposed the building
company’s failure to honor its promises on building classrooms as part of its corporate social responsibility activities to the area. The impact of his story aired on the World Water Day was immediate: the constructing company moved with speed shortly after the stories were aired to build classes for the Chemususu Primary School in Baringo county. (For more on this story click here)
Earlier, Emma Mwamburi, a Prevention Specialist at USAID in Kenya, said she was proud to see Health becoming an important story in the Kenya over the nine years she had worked with Internews.
She encouraged journalists to appreciate the power of their words, more so if they deal with fundamental rights like health and democracy. Emma said the HIV field was full of controversy, myths and stigma, but that journalists could change that.
“Through training, journalists and therefore the citizens of Kenya will come to understand that if you want to make an impact on HIV, you cannot shy away from sex and condoms, homosexuality and drug abuse. Journalists can help Kenyan society be more mature and face up to what people do, and how they can be helped,” said Mwamburi.
David Creekmore, the Chief Operating Officer of Internews, represented the organization’s
US Head Office at the Nairobi celebration and highlighted the organization’s approach to technology and new voices in media, which the new Internews Next campaign supported.
“Internews has been instrumental in the adoption of new technologies, the championing of new voices and collaborating with new partners in support of new projects around the globe”, said Creekmore.
Ida Jooste, Internews Country Director said that on its birthday, Internews was rolling out the red carpet for all the different groups who make good stories possible. Journalists, their contacts, the people who are willing to tell their stories and the people who hear, read and see the stories – the audience.
“Increasingly, these audiences are people who send in their comments, upload photo’s or tweet about an issue. So citizens are storytellers too. The traditional storytellers (journalists) and the new storytellers need to talk to each other – even better, richer stories will come out of that collaboration,” said Jooste.