CHARLES MGHENYI: How to build a career in the media industry

Charles Mghenyi is a seasoned journalist with over 10 years’ experience in news reporting. He currently serves as the Coast Region Bureau Chief for The Star Newspaper, Kenya where he oversees a team of correspondents and covers the six counties in the Coast with a focus on business, health and education news. He is a Creative Category Winner of the 2018 Kenya Press Photos Award.

He is also the Founder and Managing Director of Golf Score Kenya and Mghenyi Empire Concepts. Golf Score is a registered brand with a burgeoning website, that is gaining recognition as a premier source of information, inspiration, and entertaining golf news across Kenya and the broader East African region. Mghenyi Empire, on the other hand, is a registered Public Relations company based at the Kenyan Coast.

We caught up with Charles for a session. Here is how it went.

What are some of the qualifications one is required to have, in order to pursue a career in the media industry?

The Kenyan media landscape is broad. According to the Media Council of Kenya, there are about 200 licensed radio stations, 94 TV stations and over 100 publications in the country. This provides ample opportunities for people to pursue a career.

Some of the qualifications required include a degree in journalism, media studies, communications, or a related field. Specialized courses in multimedia journalism, digital media or broadcast journalism can be beneficial. Furthermore, practical experience gained through internships at media organizations helps in gaining hands-on experience and building a professional network.

Some of the skills required include:

  • Writing and Communication: Strong writing skills for print and digital media along with excellent verbal communication for broadcast journalism.
  • Research and Analytical Skills: Ability to conduct thorough research and analyze information critically.
  • Digital Literacy: Proficiency with digital tools and platforms, including content management systems, social media and multimedia editing software.
  • Adaptability and Versatility: Capability to work across various media formats— print, online, and broadcast.
  • Ethics and Integrity: A strong sense of journalistic ethics and integrity to report accurately and fairly.
  • Creativity and Innovation: Ability to present information in engaging and innovative ways.

How can the young people secure jobs in the industry?

For those with academic qualifications in Media, securing jobs can be approached in several ways:

  • Networking: Building connections through internships, industry events, and social media platforms like LinkedIn can open doors to job opportunities.
  • Portfolio Development: Creating a strong portfolio showcasing diverse work (articles, videos, podcasts, etc.) demonstrates skills and versatility to potential employers.
  • Freelancing: Starting as a freelance journalist or content creator can provide valuable experience and exposure.
  • Corporate Communications: Every company requires a communications officer. There are jobs in social media department, photography, videography and content creation.

These opportunities manifest in various roles which include:

  • Entry-Level Positions: Roles such as junior reporters, social media co-ordinators, and production assistants.
  • Specialized Roles: Positions in areas like investigative journalism, multimedia journalism, or data journalism.
  • Digital Media: Jobs in content creation, social media management, and digital marketing. Youth should capitalize on this.
Charles Mghenyi
Courtesy: Charles Mghenyi Charles Mghenyi during a past event

As an entrepreneur in the media business, what lessons have you learnt building Golf Score Kenya?

Golf Score is an exclusive magazine website dedicated to the thriving golf community in Kenya and East Africa. This is an idea that was born in 2020 but it took me about three years to actualize it. I had to do a lot of research around golf as a niche: How to write golf and understand the game of golf all together. We launched Golf Score last year November.

Some of the lessons that I have learnt building Golf Score Kenya include:

  • Adaptability: The ability to adapt to changing market trends and consumer needs is crucial.
  • User Engagement: Building a strong relationship with users through regular interaction and feedback can drive growth.
  • Quality Content: Providing high-quality, reliable content builds trust and a loyal audience.
  • You need to consistently feed/invest in the company for at least six months to start generating income.

What is Public Relations and how can we incorporate it into our business ventures?

Public Relations mainly concerns sharing the story of a brand in a positive light, especially when there is a communication crisis. Every brand needs to come up with positive stories that will promote the brand well to its audience. This will involve coming up with strategies on how to communicate the brand story and the channels that will be uses. Creating press releases and media management forms part of public relations.

In your opinion, is Artificial Intelligence (AI) going to disrupt the digital media space?

A.I is here and we have to embrace it in our daily activities. Sometimes, I use AI in handling some tasks. We need to keep up with trends and use AI in improving our tasks. However, we should not rely on it, solely.

What advice would you give to the young people seeking to start a business in the media industry?

First, you need to understand your target audience. Take your time to research about your niche and audience to tailor content and services to their needs. Golf Score was researched for three years. Furthermore, use the latest digital tools and platforms to create and distribute content efficiently.

Build a strong brand that resonates with your audience: aim to build a brand that will outlive you. Always stay updated on industry trends and technological advancements to stay competitive. Also, explore diverse monetization strategies, such as ad revenue, subscriptions, and partnerships. Finally, building a successful digital media business takes time and effort, so be prepared for setbacks and stay persistent.

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