Journalists Advised To Embrace Tech While Maintaining Authenticity


By Isabella Maua

Journalists have been challenged to embrace digitalization and Artificial Intelligence amidst the chaotic media environment dominated by fake news and misinformation.

Speaking during the Philip Ochieng’ Memorial Forum in Nairobi,Rachael Akidi, a veteran journalist and Strategic Communication consultant, said that there are many emerging threats to the credibility of journalism, but this shouldn’t deter them from pursuing authenticity.

“We need to re-evaluate the values and principles of modern-day journalism, understand our target audience, which is largely Gen-Z, and package our news stories accordingly,” Akidi noted.

Another great issue that has threatened to paralyze the media industry, especially privately owned main-stream media stations, is lack of adequate finances.

This, according to Akidi, could be tackled essentially through collaborations and partnerships with companies and organizations that have products or services to offer.

“For a very long time, traditional media houses have relied on advertisements for income, but with the recent emergence of influencers, it’s evidently getting tougher for them to sustain operations,” she cited.

Despite the fact that journalism is facing numerous challenges, from the peddling of fake news to the dominance of citizen journalism and quacks, upcoming journalists have been advised to uphold ethics and creativity for sustainability.

Joseph Warungu, a legendary editor who has worked with The BBC for over two decades, accentuated the need for academicians to instil a reading culture in students of journalism.

“I recall the late Philip Ochieng’ who passionately loved reading, and as seen in his exemplary writing, he remains to be celebrated in many more years to come,” observed Warungu.

He, on the other hand, pointed out that the editors of today have no time to mentor upcoming journalists who may have otherwise become potential writers and editors in the future.

Warungu added: “With many years of experience as an editor in Africa and beyond, I can attest that it’s not our making, but we find it difficult to mentor young journalists because we are tasked with more tasks of bringing businesses to the company.”

Dr. Lidya Radoli, a lecturer at Daystar University, highlighted the need to incorporate industry members into the academy despite the technological hype in the current world.

“We can’t dismiss the fact that Artificial Intelligence is here with us and we need to embrace it, but we also can’t overlook the need for human presence,” she reiterated.

Conclusively, it’s needless to say that conventional media is competing with social media and the digital entertainment market, but in the end, creativity and value-added journalism will always win.

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