Top Kenyan Journalists Whose Risky Gambles Paid Off

  • Despite the ever-changing face of journalism, some top faces and voices will not be forgotten any time soon due to the impact they had at the peak of their careers.

    Some of these journalists, having made a name for themselves in media and tried their hands at different things.

    While some of them might have prepared for such moments, others found themselves in circumstances that forced them to take a leap

    These journalists took uncertain risks with their careers that finally paid off and placed them on the global map.

    John Allan Namu

    John Allan Namu quit KTN in 2015, a place he had spent ten years in as an investigative journalist and reporter.

    After his departure, he revealed that the reason for his move was because the mainstream media was becoming too narrow for investigative journalism.

    “The environment for telling stories within a mainstream environment is just becoming smaller and smaller and that has to be said! Sometimes we editorialize where we should not and that is not what investigative journalism is about. You have to have the freedom to tell your stories.” Namu stated.

    John Allan Namu left KTN in 2015 before launching his Africa Uncensored media company.

    Namu launched Africa Uncensored, an independent media house centered on telling African stories, and has since gone ahead to produce explosive features shedding light on corruption, crime, politics and culture and all over Africa.

    Mohammed Ali

    Mohammed Ali left KTN in 2017 to contest for the Nyali constituency seat in the national assembly.

    In the run-up to the 2017 General Election, current Nyali MP Mohammed Ali announced that he was quitting the media for elective politics.

    Arguably one of the best known and revered investigative journalists, known for his Jicho Pevu series on KTN, it came as a surprise to many that he would join the very leaders he took by the horns.

    Many predicted doom for him, given that he did not have the financial muscle associated with campaigns and that he barely had political experience.

    Ali lost out during the nominations to ODM's favoured candidate Said Abdallah alias Saido, and competed as an independent candidate.

    He ended up humiliating Saido at the ballot to become the Nyali legislator.

    Alex Chamwada

    Alex Chamwada left KTN in 2014 before launching his own Chams media which produces content for KTN News.

    Veteran journalist and TV personality Alex Chamwada quit Citizen TV in 2014, after two decades (1994-2014) of journalism with a view to starting his own media company.

    While he struggled in the initial years of his departure, he went ahead to sign a lucrative deal with KTN News that saw his company, Chams Media, produce programs that were aired on the TV station.

    His company produces The Chamwada Report and Daring Abroad which cover news features from Africa and beyond. 

    Julie Gichuru

    Julie Gichuru left mainstream media in 2012 to concentrate on personal pursuits.

    Gichuru's career in the media spanned over the past 15 years  and had worked across the fields of broadcast, print and digital media in several TV stations in the country.

    She made a bold decision to leave mainstream media in October 2012, at a time when she was the host of Citizen TV's news segment Sunday Live.

    This decision, she stated, was to provide space for her own personal projects in both media and social activism for which she is internationally recognized.

    Gichuru now owns Arimus Media Limited which oversees the production of quality African content such as Africa Leadership Dialogues, the Great Debaters Contest and entertainment series such as Maisha, Glam Show.

    Larry Madowo

    Larry Madowo quit NTV in march 2018 before joining BBC less than a month later.

    For Larry Madowo, good things happened to him when he announced his decision to quit NTV in March 2018, where he had been an anchor and technology editor, and also wrote a column titled Front Row for the Daily Nation.

    Madowo joined BBC Africa in April 2018 as the business editor, just a month after leaving NTV.

    Less than a year after he had joined the international broadcaster, Madowo received a fellowship that would see him undertake a fully-sponsored course to study business and economics at the prestigious Columbia University, in New York City, United States.

    He was one of the beneficiaries of the 44th Knight-Bagehot Fellowship in Business and Economics at the Columbia Journalism School.

    Linus Kaikai

    Linus Kaikai left NTV in 2018 February, and joined Citizen TV less than two months later.

    Speculations ran rife after Linus Kaikai's exit from NTV February 27, 2018, where he had been the station's general manager.

    Media reports indicated that Kaikai's relationship with NMG's top brass had allegedly become increasingly troubled after NTV broadcasted live proceedings of ODM leader Raila Odinga's swearing-in as the people's president on January 30, 2018.

    Less than two months later, Kaikai made his debut at Citizen TV as the director of strategy and innovation, on Wednesday, April 24, 2018.

    Joe Ageyo

    Joe Ageyo left KTN studios in 2018 and joined Citizen TV

    Joe Ageyo called it a day at the KTN where he was a managing editor in March 2018.

    The accomplished journalist who had a career spanning for more than 18 years, having worked in all the mainstream stations across the country left the Mombasa Road-based media house, and a few weeks later, he was picked by Royal Media Services.

    Ageyo joined Citizen TV as a managing editor around  the same time as Linus Kaikai.