From Shoe Shiner to NTV News Anchor

  • A photo of NTV News Anchor Edmond Nyabola on set.
    NTV News Anchor Edmond Nyabola on set.
  • When one watches NTV's Edmond Nyabola ply his trade on tv, it is hard to tell of his journey to the top of Kenya's media industry.

    In a quickfire interview with the station, the renowned journalist narrated his journey from a village in Siaya County to being a news anchor on one of the largest television networks in the continent.

    The firstborn of three was, for most of his life, raised by a single parent in Siaya, after losing his father at the age of 8 years.

    A photo of NTV News Anchor Edmond Nyabola on set.
    NTV News Anchor Edmond Nyabola on set.

    In the interview, Nyabola confessed that he first visited Nairobi when he was drafted to join the University of Nairobi in 2009.

    "Being raised by a single parent in a village set up where you don't always get what you want, shaped me up in a very huge way. We didn't have much, it was basically a struggle but am grateful that I got here," Nyabola narrated.

    The NTV anchor stated that, while most people think he might have grown up in the posh outskirts of Nairobi, he actually did not have it easy as a student in the University of Nairobi.

    At some point, he resorted to odd jobs to raise money while still a student at the university. 

    "Some think I am a rich kid, no. At some point, I had to work as a shoe shinner to pay my school fees at the University of Nairobi," Nyabola recounted.

    "For three months I woke up at 5.00 a.m. and go to archives and shine shoes," he added.

     He was drafted to the institution to pursue a bachelor of arts degree, and later specialised in communication when he got to Third Year. 

    "Not to say I set out to be a journalist, I did not, but life changes you like that," he stated.

    His journey in the media began when Nation Media Group, through a programme called Media Lab, approached the university for interns.

    A photo of NTV Anchor Edmond Nyabola presenting news on August 10, 2019.
    NTV's Edmond Nyabola presents news on August 10, 2019.

    While NMG wanted just eight interns, he was take in as an extra. 

    "I worked as a sports reporter, and later an anchor, before finally switching to NTV," Nyabola recounted.

    For someone who did not study journalism, he sure does have what it entails to be among the very best. Nayabola stated that his knowledge of self and ethics were key to his success in the industry.

    "Anchoring is more than just standing there and reading news. It requires more of physical presence, emotional presence, consecration, the focus, and of course ethics," Nyabola stated.

    "You have to calm and collect yourself before that camera when the time comes for you to deliberately put out what you are supposed to, with the guidelines you are supposed to follow, and several other issues around it," he added.

    Nyabola stated that research is key to one's presentation, noting that an anchor needs to have a full understanding of the topic. 

    In the interview, the NTV anchor recounted a time a rather unexpected thing happened while he presented news.

    "There is a day I had this issue, I had grown a little fat. I went on air and buttoned my coat. All of a sudden, my button popped and I could feel it, just as I was in the middle of my intro," Nyabola narrated.

    "You could hear it roll away, and then when they came back to me after the story, my jacket was open. Someone tweeted saying Edmond's jacket can now breathe," he recalled.

    Nyabola narrated the pressure as well as the reputation that came with investigative journalism, despite having yet to put out his own investigative feature.

    He pointed out the dangers that come with such pieces of journalism, including bribery, threats, court summons, jail terms.

    "As a human being, you have to believe in something and have to stand for it regardless. If you have those values in you, it will just work out," he stated.

    Nyabola noted that there is more to journalism than just the art of it as taught in schools. Journalists also need to acquire more knowledge in other fields to be able to report effectively. He mentioned anchors in Ken Mijungu and Dan Mwangi who studied law and economics in university respectively but have become reputable in the industry.

    "Journalism is about people and the things we face in our everyday lives," Nyabola remarked.

    He was feted the Devolution Reporting Award during thee 2019 AJEA Awards.