KTN News presenter Timothy Otieno on Saturday, May 16, opened up on his journey to becoming one of the most recognisable faces on television in the country.
He disclosed that he had always harboured a dream of becoming a journalist, and especially nurtured it at Moi University where he was an active member of the journalism club, writing countless articles.
In an interview for a web series, Otieno revealed that few people knew that he spent seven months at Standard Group working as an unpaid volunteer.
He disclosed that he would get nothing for food or transport and depended on help from his mother, almost losing hope before his big break.KTN News presenter Timothy Otieno (left) undertaking an interview for a past report for KTN News
"I got to the Standard Group after campus, after I finished in December 2014. I joined the Standard Group in January 2015, it's my fifth year. Damn!
"I got there as a volunteer. I was an intern the previous year in 2014, during the third year of my studies. After I was done with my three-month internship I asked the editors if I could come back as a volunteer once my studies were completed, to which they agreed.
"So in January 2015 I went back as a volunteer and I did it for seven months, for free. You don't get fare or anything. I was surviving mostly on my savings and a little bit of help from my friends, my relatives and my mother.
"It's not easy, people think you go there and tomorrow you are on air doing a story. It's not easy," Otieno asserted.
The presenter is currently known for his show Area Code, which casts a spotlight on the evolution of various residential areas and estates in Nairobi.
Otieno revealed that his big break came when, during his time as a volunteer, Standard Group decided to launch KTN News in 2015.
The station was branded as the region's first 24-hour news channel and needed reporters capable of delivering quality news content for its audience.
"The saving grace for myself and 5 others whom we got a job with at the same time is when we were almost giving up, the idea to launch KTN News began.
"It was launched in July of 2015, and because the vision of the station was to be a 24-hour news channel, they, therefore, needed people to work around the clock.
"At the time a majority of people who were working hardest were interns like ourselves because we're trying to prove something," he disclosed.
He disclosed that they were employed on one-year contracts, and received an extension the next year before securing their positions ahead of the General Election in 2017.
Otieno disclosed that he worked hard to get the trust of his editors, and spent his time as an intern improving and working on impactful feature stories.
He revealed that, as a college student, he reached out to many established journalists looking for a mentor but only veteran journalist Alex Chamwada bothered to respond.
Offering advice to aspiring journalists, Otieno advised them to constantly hone their craft and, if possible, to find mentors in the industry.
Watch his interview below:
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