Major Editorial Reorganisation at NMG Leaves Journalists Sweating Over Their Futures


The Nation Media Group (NMG) in 2023 launched a major transformation within their editorial department, in efforts to streamline content production. 

A source privy to the matter explained to Kenyans.co.ke that the re-organisation was mooted to converge editorial leadership for its various publications in line with the larger vision to ensure that the group takes one editorial direction, and with central decision-making.

As opposed to a linear structure, the new strategy has a single team led by a tutorial director and managing editors in charge of different processes and functions. 

The previous structure involved a chain of command, where each product had a department head, with a top-to-bottom flow of authority. 

Nation Media Group front office on Kimathi Street.

Photo

NMG

Last year, the Group Managing Editor Pamela Sittoni noted that the changes would help increase the longevity of their products, complement each other and reduce unnecessary competition in the workplace. 

“The business desk serves everybody across the media house, not just specific publications, and a single team covers each of the support functions,” Sittoni noted in an interview last year. 

Resistance to Change

The changes have, however, caused unease among employees, as adapting to new ways of production takes time. 

“NMG has the disadvantage of being a very big organisation so turning it around is like trying to turn a huge ship – very slow,” an editor who sought anonymity revealed to Kenyans.co.ke. 

The employee further expressed that many people around the office were worried that the mainstream media  blueprint was fading away.

“Many people want to leave mainstream media because it feels like a sinking boat,” the source added. 

The editor, who works on different products at the company, also talked of bad attitudes and pessimism approach from staff because they feel past efforts at digital transformation all failed.

“We feel like efforts are led by strangers and outsiders rather than from within. Hence sabotage,” the source noted.

Our efforts to reach Joe Ageyo, NMG’s Editorial Department’s Editor-in-Chief proved futile as he did not respond to our questions at the time of publishing this piece.

The media group dedicated the new strategies to pursue new revenue streams fully entrenching the digital/mobile-first approach and embedding the digital culture into the organisation. 

At the beginning of January, the media house suspended all editorial shows, airing repeats of popular shows such as AM Live and Kigoda Chako instead. 

With the move, the station intends to introduce quality news items that bring an in-depth analysis of current affairs and deviate from third-party reporting that has dominated the mainstream landscape. 

Albeit, the transition has created a tense environment among the employees who fear looming job cuts. 

Notably, the digital shift in the media landscape has hit some of the big media giants hard.

NMG released a profit warning report on October 26, 2023, after registering a 98.8 per cent profit drop before tax for the first half of the year. 

“The board of directors has determined that the earnings from the financial year ending December 31, 2023, will be lower than the earnings for the previous year by at least 25 per cent,” the report read in part. 

Some of NMG’s products include; The Nation Newspaper, Nation. Africa, NTV, The East African, Business Daily among others.

An example of a Radial Office Layout.

Photo K2 Space





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