By Raylenne Kambua

Journalists must seek alternative sources of income to sustain themselves during the difficult economic times caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

This was the main theme of a training on Media sustainability in the era of COVID-19 and post-COVID-19, organized by the Kenya Editors’ Guild for Nairobi journalists.

It was agreed that to continue doing journalism at a time the pandemic has caused havoc in their income, journalists need security from alternative income.

They should also seek mental and psychological support in the course of their duties, create their own niche and build on their personal brands.

‘’Think about where you are, where you are going and the obstacles in your profession then you will be good to go in your work, ‘’ Kwamchetsi Makokha, of Form and Content, one of the trainers said.

Journalists were urged to embrace multitasking and to be open to new ideas that allows them to exploit available opportunities to break salary dependence from one source.

New income ideas include: operating fast food restaurants, boutiques, electronic shops, cyber cafes and cereal stores.

Technology is fast sweeping old trends and models and replacing them with new ones. The media will also sooner or later experience the new technological impact that will force it to change several methods of its landscape. This calls for the media to prepare for the advancements that will come along with the new technology that may even render most journalism related jobs redundant.

Njoki Chege, a member of KEG’s Innovations committee, said one way for the media to survive in the new technological wave is to let human interest be at the core of innovation. Thus journalists should understand their audience needs and then leverage on technological innovations.

Journalists have the responsibility to put their security at the front of their considerations. Security comes in different aspects such as financial security, job security, health security and also physical security.

Seeking more knowledge from trainings and continuous development learning would also come in handy in pursuit of a sustainable media-working environment.

Elias Makori, a Sports Editor, advised journalists to create their own niche as a survival strategy. Building a personal brand is also capital, as it encourages one to think and act beyond the ordinary and existing trends.

Some of the challenges the journalists mentioned during the training

  • Jobs insecurity
  • Economic hardships
  • Overwork
  • Shrinking revenues from their media organizations
  • Trust issues from their news sources
  • Shifting audiences
  • Cyber insecurity
  • Job losses and salary cuts
  • Unfriendly social media policies
  • Lack of psycho-social support
  • Changing face of journalism
  • Death of continuous learning