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Career Question: Is it true that to get a job as a journalist, you have to know someone?

Question: Is it true that to get a job as
a journalist, you have to know someone?
It really sometimes sounds as if it’s true. Sure, look at the media stations and the talent; many journalists seem to be rotating from one station to another. Consider radio and TV presenters for example, let’s say Julie Gichuru, she moved form NTV to Citizen, Catherine Kasavuli, from KTN to Citizen, Marcus from Capital FM (where they used to host the Capital drive with Neo, one of the best radio combinations to date).

Anyway, here’s why media stations seem to hire only those that have proved to be tried and tested. Radio, TV, magazines and newspapers are competing for audience, that is listeners, viewers and readers. Now, the more the more the audience, the more the advertisers are willing to advertise on those stations, therefore, the more the advertising revenue. Consider the many advertisements on Maina Kageni’s and Mwalimu Kingang’is
Classic FM morning show or Citizen TV. Now, it becomes very hard to build an audience from scratch, that would take time and patience, which in effect, many media stations are not willing to risk on. So, many of them opt for the easier way out, to take someone that ahs already been tried and tested. Which really puts the fresh graduates at a disadvantage, sometimes, it’s easy to feel sorry for the fresh journalism graduates, it’s like the career has been infiltrated so to speak.

Now, there are ways in which a fresh graduate can get a job, one of them is to participate or undertake activities that would raise her profile, make her have a following or be popular. That’s why musicians, talent academy winners, comedians are easily hired by many a media station. So, you could begin by any of these activities, or even start a blog, that way, you will be building a following on a particular interest and hopefully, it would be easier to stand out in the long term. One cannot rule out ‘kujuana’ as is with many aspects of today’s Kenyan lifestyle, but trust me, even if you get a job through ‘kujuana’ if you cannot deliver on the audience and ratings, trust you me, no media station will want to keep you there for long. 
Mabinda C.
Blog editor.

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