CLEOPHAS OLUOCH: Package yourself well for success in media industry

Kindly introduce yourself.

I am Cleophas Oluoch Otieno, a believer of the Almighty God. Careerwise, I am a journalist and a digital/social media content producer at Milele Fm. I am a voice over artist for Milele Fm among other brands. I am also an undergraduate student in Moi University Main Campus.

I love social media content creation and passionate about telling stories in the digital platforms. I am fully passionate on growth for learning is a process that I trust.

So, Cleophas, how did you get to be where you are today?

I must say it’s the work of God, never did I know that one day I will work and study at the same time. It is a journey that kicked off immediately I joined Moi University and joined the school of information Sciences with the passion of venturing into the media industry, I decided to use all avenues available for me, including joining the Horizon Publication with the help of many other members. Through this, I joined The Moi University Press Club where I grew further.

To move on the career, last year February was the time I decided to move from my comfort zone of heading to a long holiday and sort for internship. I requested my lecturer for an opportunity in any place where I could practice journalism. This is when I headed to Royal Media Services LTD (RMS) specifically Radio Citizen. Here as an intern, I was in the digital department and soon after 3 weeks, my supervisor resigned, leaving me as a the one in-charge of the desk before another editor was found. I did my internship very well and this landed me an extension and later a job at Milele Fm dring the mass exodus from RMS to Mediamax LTD.

How should someone package himself/herself to have a chance in the media industry, considering the vast number of graduates out here?

This is where many miss it. Packaging yourself entails so much. Have self discipline and try to be the true version of yourself. You will be at your attachment place and because of a lifestyle that you are not used to, many will try to copy others, they miss it.

Self discipline will make you to respect yourself and it will make you know your worth. Discipline is above all and through it, many opportunities will open up for you. You will be seen as an orderly person right from the time you present your CV and tot he point you get to the interview. Carry yourself with so much esteem but never let it come along with pride, for with pride, you will fall.

Now that you are in the digital media space, what exactly do you do? And, is there any future in the traditional media?

In the digital media, I am concerned mostly to the social media and the company’s website. Here, I design posters for every show for Milele Fm and other brands within the company and even clients outside. I promote the online participation between the presenter and the listener. Without the online engagement, the on-air part of broadcast is challenged. On the digital space, I manage all the news and broadcast items for online consumption. As you know among the many roles of mass media is to set the Agenda, so I, together with my team create topics for discussions in Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram. I also shoot video clips for the shows with specific segments for Youtube.

There is future for the traditional media. The coming of the new media is not intended to phase-out the traditional. Traditional media should be honored for through it the new media was created.

Given that our society is limiting in the sense that students are placed in courses not really of their choices but the grades they get. What would you advise a person who is passionate with journalism but is in a different career by chance and not choice?

This is a very sad situation and I have witnessed a friend invited to take a course that he didn’t select and he had to change the university and apply elsewhere. It is good to follow your passion and at times it can be very expensive like now that student is paying heavily on the course that he wanted. Taking that course under Government Sponsorship will be relatively cheap as compared to joining on PSSP.

Why do they prefer comedians alongside one journalist?

First any media house is a business. The Host needs a compliment and if you have the degree in journalism and you are a comedian too, you have an advantage. For our case we have #AlexNaJalas where Jalas is the Comedian who compliments Alex. For the Evening Drive show #MileleDrive we have Wilbrodah who is the comedian there.

It is a business and if these comedian are used to bring the numbers to the company and the station. Radio stations sell many products and if you have no numbers for the clients to buy your services then it won’t work. Like any other business, profit is the most expected outcome. In Milele Fm, we sell and every comedian comes with his/her numbers on board. Talent pays!

Have you ever encountered fake news at your workplace?

Fake news are always there and we see them online but don’t publish until verified. Hurrying to break the news is never the main thing. I remember posting a wrong news update at my former workplace. It was the use of an unverified photo on social media and through it I learnt so much.

What should someone do in order to land an interview at a radio/tv station? In case they would wish to share their brand story to an audience.

First, make your brand seriously visible. The visibility of a brand is key. If it is visible then you can’t be denied a chance to make it on-air. This rotates on the on-air producers who source for these guests for a show.

Secondly, you need to have a meaningful network of friends. Meaningful because, of the many friends that we have, very few of them can link you up to a radio station and even those who can, can’t guarantee you a show.

You have a great online presence especially on twitter. Tell us something about content that sells and how to get worthy followers.

From the posts and the content created, it is true that those stories that appeal to human’s heart get the highest engagement rate on our social media pages. Many believe according to the latest research that politics sells but in the real sense, it doesn’t but human interest stories do. Real life stories help us get the online audience.

Should artists be paid for an interview?

It is all about giving you the platform to sell your music or the work of art. In this sense, it is true to say that once that platform is given to you then you will grow your personal brand and your fans will respect you. Among the roles of the radio stations and tv stations is to entertain and inform you, they will also expose you to the real world of good, real and fake fans.

What is your parting shot?

In anything that you do, just carry yourself with respect and if you do your thing, have the passion at it and deliver, you never know who is watching you. Do it with all your energy and strength. Believe in yourself and go for that which is yours. Trust in God and all your ways shall be prosperous. Trust the process and grab any opportunity that avails itself!

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