On the 25th of January, the Strathmore Communications Consultancy Clinic (SCCC) held the inaugural launch of the communications series in which communication experts are invited for interactive sessions with students at Strathmore. SCCC is a student-led enterprise which seeks to offer BA in Communication Students an opportunity to practice their acquired knowledge in Communication, by volunteering their services to the underprivileged in society.
On this occasion, we were graced by the presence of Mark Masai, a news presenter with a long and illustrious career, as well as Dennis Okari, a veteran investigative journalist with a myriad of hard-hitting investigative pieces under his belt. Both individuals, absolute titans in their field.
The event running from about 4 pm to 6 pm was kicked off by a prayer from Fr. Jude, Chaplain for the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. The very able emcee, Alice, swiftly took the floor and aptly gave a gleaming introduction to our esteemed guests. Thereafter, our adept moderators, Justin and Tracy, guided the first session in which some previously prepared questions were asked to the guests. Some of the questions bounced off the guests included: Is news reporting losing the battle of people’s attention with the rise of social media? How do you see the media industry evolving in the next five years?
In what they define as impactful, the consensus between the two was that impact is seen in terms of reaction, both from the public and institutions. The bigger the reaction, the bigger the impact. Furthermore, on the question about the future of traditional media in this age of technology, Mark Masai talked on credibility being the differentiating factor whereas Dennis Okari approached the situation from a different perspective, talking about the convergence between the two being the future, where traditional news houses curate content specifically for different platforms.
Being journalists who are paid to talk, their ability to articulate themselves and answer the questions posed to them with ease was a spectacle to see. Additionally, the charisma and synergy between the two made the session flow effortlessly. Without a doubt, the propensity of the two to capture the attention of an entire lecture room was breath-taking.
One of my most memorable moments was Okari’s narration of a near-death experience. While covering a story about terrorists, he and the cameraman had to venture deep into the infamous Boni Forest, an adventure that brought him close to death. The takeaway from this experience was the importance of full dedication to one’s craft and the length to which one must be willing to cover a story. This very much ties into some words he spoke about on matters integrity. “Be tough, protect your craft.”
After the first session elapsed, the emcee and moderators then opened up the floor to the crowd to ask questions directly to the panellists. Hard hitting questions such as finding balance, matters of integrity and freedom of speech were raised.
At the end of it all, impactful nuggets of truth and wisdom were dropped, which in all ways were beneficial to anyone in attendance, whether a communications student or not. Questions were also fired back at the crowd from the two guests, such as “Only I can…?”, where participants were to find the differentiating factor between us and others; what sets us apart from everyone else, as well as “what are you working on?” backed by the statement that as a student you may not be employed, but you still need to be working. So, what are you working on?
This article was written by Jeremiah Mwema.
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