So is journalism and other mass communication courses in Kenya still good or should you throw away your dream of working in media?
Well, I shall be answering this question and educating you on other important details about mass communication courses in Kenya..
To start with, let me try to answer the question that I’m asked most often: is journalism and mass communication marketable in Kenya?
Is journalism and mass communication marketable in Kenya?
Now, journalism and mass communication is still a marketable course in Kenya….but don’t be so fast to celebrate..
It is not as marketable as it used due to a variety of reasons – and I will look at some of them below:
Media houses hire comedians
First, most media houses have a tendency to hire comedians instead of qualified journalists for their radio stations to try and attract the fans of the comedian to the station.
Think of Jalang’o, Baite, Mwala, etc- these comedians and others all work for different FM stations -or have at one time done so.
Similarly, some of the stations employ musicians and other celebrities..
And that means fewer jobs for trained journalists in Kenya.
The internet has disrupted media businesses in a big way
The other major cause of reduced employment opportunities in traditional media businesses is the internet.
You see, a lot of people now rely on social media and online platforms for news and entertainment content instead of Newspapers, TV, and Radio (Think of Tuko, Operanews, kahawatungu, Kenyans.co.ke, and more.
And that has eaten into the market shares (and, of course, income) that media houses control though Nation, The Star, Citizen, and other conventional media players are now going digital.
But don’t worry…despite this being the situation, you can still make a career as mass media professional..
Here is what you need to do:
Focus on digital Journalism
The world has shifted to the internet in nearly all ways and journalism has not been left behind.
For that reason, you should target learning digital journalism rather than the old way of doing things.
And it is good that there are a couple of digital mass communication courses in Kenya including Diploma in Digital Journalism at ADMI and KCA university.
You can even go as high as a Master of Arts (MA) in Digital Journalism (This is offered at Aga Khan University).
To be successful in mass media today, you need to be multi-dimensional.
Put another way, the secret is having as many skills as possible so that you can fit into any role that arises.
Here are some examples of what will make you more marketable:
- Digital mapping skills(helps you produce maps for online outlets)
- Data visualization using tools such as Tableau, Refine, Flourish, etc.
- Video production and making explainer videos / animations using software such as Final Cut Pro, After Effects, etc.
- Production of long-form digital features like http://goo.gl/GHdurD with a tool like Shorthand
- Gathering information through Freedom-of-Information requests
- Negotiation skills (you will be negotiating with officials for data & open records)
- Advanced Excel features like pivot tables
- Data processing skills using languages like R
- Social media accounts management skills
- Traffic monitoring skills
- Use of design software (such as Photoshop) to produce composite images
- Photography skills
- Knowledge of publication process (print / digital)
- Excellent research skills
Definitely there’s no shortcut…
You won’t get hired with just one skill unless you’re super lucky.
Adopt an entrepreneurial brain
You also need to start thinking like entrepreneur.
The truth is you don’t have to wait for someone to employ you if you have all the above skills.
The thing is, you can start with basic things like opening a YouTube channel or a blog and build slowly towards something bigger like a fully-fledged only multimedia platform such as kenyamoja.com
Is mass communication marketable in Kenya?
Refer to my answer above..
Let us now look at the available Mass communication courses in Kenya, their qualifications including Bachelor of journalism and mass communication requirements, where you can study, and your career prospects.
Mass communication courses in Kenya
- Film Animation
- Media Science
- Communication and Media Technology
- Social Communication
- Applied Communication
- Kiswahili and Media Studies
- Communication and media studies
- Broadcast journalism
KCSE Mean grade: C+
English/Kiswahili: B (some universities will accept a C+ in English/Kiswahili)
Alternative entry requirements
C plain KCSE mean grade +a Diploma in Mass Communication/or equivalent from any recognised post-secondary institution.
- Graphic Design
- Mass Communication
- Journalism and Mass Media
Mean Grade: C plain
English/Kiswahili: C in English and Kiswahili plus any other two subjects
- Journalism and Mass Media
- Broadcast Journalism
- Radio and Television Presentation Techniques
Mean Grade: C- (C- in Kiswahili and English and any other two subjects)
Career prospects for those who do mass communication courses in Kenya
- Communications specialist
- News editor
- Digital editor
- Copy editor/writer
- Content developer (digital media)
- Documentary maker
- Digital producer
- Literary talent agent
- PR assistant
- Video Camera Operator
- Studio Technician
- Script Writer
- Media Planner
- Multimedia Specialist
- Programme Researcher
- Public Relations Officer
- Television/Film Producer
- Video Producer
- Web Content Manager
What is mass communication?
Mass media communication is the process of disseminating information on a large scale to different audiences.
Studies in mass communication and media involve the practice of journalism, as well as the various methods of sharing information with targeted audiences through the use of varied tools including the following:
- The internet
- Flash discs
- Compact discs(cds)
- Digital Versatile Discs(DVDs )
- Videocassettes and other forms of print, electronic, or digital resources.
Essentially, a journalist gathers, collates, writes, and delivers news or other current information to the public or selected audiences.
Key skills and interests required to pursue a career in this field
- Good command of the chosen language of communication
- Outstanding communication skills(verbal and written)
- Research skills
- Team spirit
- Self confidence
- Analytical mind
- Attention to detail
- Social responsibility
- Work independently with minimum supervision
- Lifelong learning skills
What the job /career /profession entails
The duties and responsibility vary with the area of mass communication you are in.
That said, most experts in this field are involved in the following tasks:
- Gathering relevant information
- Editing and presenting information as news, broadcast features, social media posts, or articles in print
- Photography at events for publication
- Operating and maintaining video cameras
- Designing computer-based graphics
- Creating original visual information displays and graphics
- Designing and producing communications for multi-media platforms
- Designing and managing websites
- Managing operations in radio and television stations