Charity begins at home for NMG’s African footprint

Friday August 30 2019


By Odoobo C. Bichachi

The Nation Media Group is the biggest and most influential media in East and Central Africa. It has a direct footprint in four countries, a network of correspondents in several countries on the continent, a wide portfolio of news and information products, and reaches millions worldwide.

A visit to the Groups website gives a sneak peek into the numbers: 69 media brands in four countries, 103 million monthly page views; 26.8 million social media followers! In Uganda, NMG platforms – Daily Monitor, NTV, Spark TV, KFM, Dembe FM and Ennyanda newspaper have a combined monthly audience in millions. Monitor Online is the most visited local website.

NMG’s versatility as a regional and continental media player in part springs from its elaborate Editorial Policy Guidelines. This week, I wish to highlight for the benefit of our readers and viewers four specific clauses in the policy that guide NMG journalists in covering Africa and the region and in many ways explains the choice and tone of content. Excerpts below:
- It [Group] will promote the national efforts of the people of East Africa to develop and harmonise their institutions for the common good and will encourage regional integration where this is practicable and demonstrably to the advantage of the peoples of those countries involved.

It should bring, where possible, first-hand and independent news coverage and views and not exclusively a repetition of articles published by others and agencies.
- Its [Group] vision will not be confined to its immediate market within East Africa, but will be driven by the objective of establishing itself as the media of Africa for Africa.
- Special attention must be paid to the activities of the East African Community and the institutions related to it to enable citizens of member countries – Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi – to understand their place in and contribution to the wider community of nations.

- In its coverage of African continent, the Group’s outlets will originate original Africa content positioning NMG as the Media of Africa for Africa and thereby counterbalancing editors’ potential excessive reliance on international news agencies for news about the continent. As a starting point, editors are required to use NMG journalists or commissioned reporters/writers to report on Africa, where possible, in order to benefit from the investment in training and the understanding of, for instance, the Group’s Editorial Policy and culture. In particular, every effort must be made to ensure full utilisation of NMG editorial resources in the coverage of events happening within East Africa where the Group has subsidiary companies with appropriate focus being placed on the interpretation and detailed discussions and analysis of those events.

The East African newspaper is the Group’s flagship regional news platform, but a network of correspondents across Africa churning out content daily gives the NMG platforms a continental reach. How well the individual outlets utilise this capacity is, of course, another matter and you the readers may, therefore, wish to evaluate the outlets when an African story breaks. For instance, are you reading about what’s happening at the Uganda-Rwanda from Western news agencies or not? When there is a disaster in the region or West Africa, are the stories filed by the global agencies or by NMG correspondents?


* Thank you very much for the consistent updates on the principles of the NMG uses in engagement with its news consumers. I have noticed a trend in your Kenyan sister papers; the Daily Nation and The East African where links to articles/news/stories related to the current article/news/stories are provided/tagged to help the readers re/connect with earlier reported events on the same subject. I would like to see that happen with our Daily Monitor and Sunday Monitors as well.
- David Ochola

Managing Editor – Digital, Carol Beyanga: Thank you for this feedback. This indeed happens with Daily Nation and The East African. This is an automated system on these websites that will automatically pick up stories with headlines related to the current story. Unfortunately, it has not yet been extended to Daily Monitor and The Citizen websites yet. The NMG digital team is working to add this. In the meantime, we are doing it manually as much as we can. You can, for example, check out this story: The automated system will be in place soon.

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