The perils of being a Kenyan journalist covering an Obama event
28 July 2015, 13:32
Nairobi - Many don't know, probably don't care and likely never bother; but being a Kenyan journalist covering an event of Obama proportions is a tough ask.
So considering my first paragraph, you will expect that I am writing about my experience and that of others I know covering US President Barack Obama's visit to the country.
Yes and Yes.
Here are a few pointers.
1. Accreditation - It was harder than ever getting accredited for anything. To appear at the airport for Obama's arrival, I had to call in several favours and in the end, nearly missed out on it. My pals from the better news agencies had an easier time of it.
2. Interviews - The purpose of a journalist covering events is to get interviews. Lets just say that I sold an arm and a leg to get one. It was an impossible ask.
3. State House - State House, where I've been severally and whose lawns I know like my own, was a different beast this time round. First of all, no one knew my media house from the CIA side and I was eventually saved by an old friend. Again, a favour.
4. Foreign media bias - You knew I was getting here. They get an easy ride. They are allowed into venues easier. They land the best slots, shots and they get the scoops first. Not that I am complaining.
5. Questions - My moment of fame came and went. I spoke to State House guys early so I could be chosen to ask a question. They agreed. When the time came, I was overlooked. I was ready for it though. There, you feed on the scraps of others.
6. Security security - In half the places, you are not allowed to talk on phone, not allowed to be somewhere you should be and at times, not allowed to even think about it. And my boss needs stories.
Look. Being a journalist is hard enough. Doing what everyone wants is another matter. It was an experience I never had before and to think President Uhuru Kenyatta is a tough one.
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