Award-winning journalistic reality television show Top Story is back for its third season in December.
The show features 75 of the best journalism students from 25 universities across the country in a storytelling competition that not only tests their abilities, but nurtures their journalistic talent. This takes place through a series of trainings and challenges where the students try their hand at producing the “top story”, with tangible prizes and much-needed exposure to the industry as an incentive.
The show was conceptualised by veteran journalist Joseph Warungu, who expressed the need to equip journalism students with practical experience in the field that they may not get while in school. He related this to his own experiences starting out in journalism, a journey that began in 1985 when he was a volunteer for Voice of Kenya (now Kenya Broadcasting Corporation).
“Back in the day, there was nothing like mentorship. You learnt on the job. We felt that we could save the students this hassle by giving them these skills,” he tells the Nation.
Top Story is produced for NTV by AfricaOnAir with support from the European Journalism Centre and is broadcast every Monday at 7.30pm. It involves prominent journalists in the field, who offer trainings and mentorship. Previous seasons featured Dennis Okari, John-Allan Namu, Joe Ageyo and Janet Mbugua, who came in as judges and trainers.
“Once they have the skills, we give them real stories to chase in the field, and have our cameras following them,” Mr Warungu explains. “Then they submit their stories, depending on their deadlines.”
The stories are developed within a 14-hour time frame, during which contestants must familiarise themselves with the assignment, find and interview sources and file a digital story for assessment by a panel of judges. Each episode runs for 30 minutes and follows two teams comprised of three contestants.
Those who receive the nod of approval proceed to the next round. The eliminations take place over the course of 26 weeks, culminating in a live gala dinner where the winners of the show are announced.
This concept makes for a show that is both entertaining and informative to both journalism students as well as the general public that may not be familiar with the work involved in generating a story, especially in broadcast journalism. The stories tackled by the students are real, focusing on developing matters of public interest, with the added bonus of watching the pieces come to life.
“It’s like an open newsroom to the world. You see the real struggles, the tears involved; sometimes what you [the journalist] thought was a story is not a story,” Mr Warungu adds.
The impact of this media literacy has garnered international attention for the show since its inception, bringing home the silver Global Youth and News Media Prize in September 2019. The award was received by Innocent Tsalwa, a Season 2 finalist from Kisii University and Millicent Njeri from Multimedia University, on behalf of Top Story.
In the spirit of the national competition, the teams visit various counties in the compilation of content for their stories. One of the key issues the show addresses is on the development agenda, which encourages students to seek out important development issues that do not get enough media attention.
Kisii University Vice Chancellor, Professor John Akama, shared his sentiments about the show’s impact on both students and the public in an exclusive interview with NTV.
“I have seen the Top Story challenge doing stories on issues of economic development, agricultural production, housing and others. Top Story is moving away from things where the only focus is on politics,” he said.
Prizes at stake include trips that offer choice interactions with great personalities and established global media houses. Winners of Season One had the opportunity to meet and chat with President Paul Kagame.
Season Two winners flew to the United Kingdom and spent a week touring London. They visited the headquarters of the BBC and Al-Jazeera offices during their stay.
The exposure provided by the show is evident in the job opportunities offered to participants, especially finalists. Alumni of the show have gone on to secure top jobs, with some becoming innovators in the industry.
“We get approached by a lot of employers for potential jobs or internships for students who have gone through the Top Story Programme,” Mr Warungu says.
The third season of Top Story airs tonight at 7. 30 PM on NTV.
Singer speaks after attacking lover at WCB signee Zuchu’s star-studded concert
56 minutes ago
On 18 July, there was fanfare at the Mlimani City Hall in Dar es Salaam as WCB signee Zuchu held a thanksgiving concert months after her debut EP, I Am Zuchu. The event dubbed ‘Ahsante Nashukuru’ mainly featured performances by artistes from the WCB stable and attracted the whos-who in the Tanzanian entertainment and political scenes.
However, singer Gigy Money who also performed made the headlines for the wrong reasons after getting into a scuffle with her lover during the much-publicised concert.
READ ALSO: I was bewitched by a friend – Gigy Money
Peaceful arrival, later chaos
Moments earlier, Gigy and her Nigerian man were seen arriving arm in arm at the event whose highlight featured Zuchu receiving a brand new car from WCB head honcho Diamond Platnumz. Donning matching outfits, the couple was spotted on the red carpet as the paparazzi scrambled to capture the moment. However, all hell breaks loose later and viral videos depict the visibly angered Nigerian arguing with a bouncer at the entrance. After a tense confrontation, Gigy’s man is seen being led by the screaming bouncer towards the exit. Shortly after, a similarly irritated Gigy emerges and follows the pair.
“Gigy! Wewe Gigy wewe!” a woman in the background is heard dissuading the singer from pursuing them but the singer pays no heed and heads for the pair.
“You want to beat me?” the boyfriend is heard asking an approaching Gigy as the bouncer acts as a barrier between them. The bouncer manages to steer the incensed man towards the exit as Gigy follows behind, hurling obscenities.
At some point, a barefoot Gigy turns into a sprint before throwing one of her shoes which hits the man who then responds with an insult. Another bouncer finally intervenes and the two are separated. Gigy then asks for her vehicle so she can head home before warning the press against sharing videos of the incident.
Though the cause of their tiff is still unknown Gigy later made reference to the shocking incident in a social media post, hinting that alcohol had a part to play in the fracas. In another post, Gigy shared a photo alongside her estranged lover writing: “My mad man looked handsome before his demons arose and mine arose too.”
‘Running over Ali Kiba’
Gigy is not new controversy and recently said she’d run over her ex, singer Ali Kiba for breaking her heart.
“I will knock all of them down, I mean I will kill them. In fact, I will flatten them like chapatis. The first person I will knock down and kill is Ali Kiba. Actually, I don’t need a weak car, I need a Fuso so that when I knock him down I will be sure he doesn’t survive,” Gigy told Ayo TV.
Dating Kiba brothers
Gigy had in the past admitted to dating both Ali Kiba and his younger brother, Abdu Kiba. She solely laid the blame on Chekecha singer for pursuing her despite knowing that she’d been with his younger brother. Abdu expressed being heartbroken after learning the two had a fling, prompting him to marry.
“I was very hurt on hearing that Ali was dating Gigy Money because I dated her first before she became famous. But it’s alleged that Ali didn’t know. It hurt me for a while till when I married,” said Abdu.
Defunct Nairobi County Council Nurses Go On Strike, Citing Discrimination By The Government
Why Jahmby Kokai is happy her TV anchor dream never came true
37 minutes ago
Popular media personality Jahmby Koikai narrated how her first attempt at auditioning as a TV host backfired and she was sent home on the first day of the audition. Reliving her prime days, Jahmby narrated how she was determined to follow her dream of becoming a news anchor after completing her degree.
“There was a reality show that was running on one major TV channel here in Kenya, searching for the next top news anchor. I’ve always had the knack for news. At the time, I was working at Metro FM. Walked to my boss and asked him if he was ok with me participating in this competition. He agreed to it.
“Auditions were at Film Studios. The queue stretched all the way to the showground. I was at the back kabisa. Imagine 300 people before you. Then we got the briefing paper and it indicated, ‘no persons with experience in a media house allowed to participate in this audition’. Mimi Jahmby Koikai, nirudi home after watu 300 kukuwa mbele yangu?” she posed.
According to the endometriosis survivor, she went ahead to audition for the position despite the warning and was the first contestant to be sent packing.
“So I stayed in line until I got to the audition room. The judges were a few people I was in campus with. I felt a wave of despair. Like I’m here auditioning, yet my classmates will be judging me? I did my thing and I was considered. We got into the house and we were assigned to different groups. I was the group leader and we won the challenge. Later that evening, we were driven back to Film Studios for a briefing. The presenter of the show said some of us have to go home.
“My name was called out first amongst other great people. We were dropped home. I cried. It felt like I’d lost such a great opportunity. My mom and late grandma were so sad cos they loved to watch me do the news,” she narrated.
Later, Jahmby auditioned for another TV opportunity only to miss out as well.
“Then came another opportunity over 10 years ago, I saw a TV ad and decided to apply for the news anchor position. I didn’t get the job.”
However, due to endometriosis, Jahmby was forced to put her dreams on hold and concentrate on getting better. According to her, it is as though God had better plans for her and is grateful to not have gotten the jobs.
“I battled severe endometriosis in silence for over 19 years. I think of how engaging the newsroom is and I’m grateful I wasn’t in that space. I’d have utilized all my sick-leaves and off-days and just declared redundant.”
There was a reality show that was running on one major TV channel here in Kenya, searching for the next top news anchor. I’ve always had the knack for news. At the time, I was working at Metro Fm. Walked to my boss and asked him if he was ok with me participating in this competition. He agreed to it. Auditions were at Film Studios. The queue stretched all the way to the showground. I was at the back kabisa. Imagine 300 people before you. Then we got the briefing paper and it indicated, ‘no persons with experience in a media house allowed to participate in this audition’. Mimi Jahmby Koikai, nirudi home after watu 300 kukuwa mbele yangu? Nikasema zi. So I stayed in line until I got to the audition room. The judges were a few people I was in campus with. I felt a wave of despair. Like I’m here auditioning, yet my classmates will be judging me? I did my thing and I was considered. We got into the house and we were assigned to different groups. I was the group leader and we won the challenge. Later that evening, we were driven back to Film Studios for a briefing. The presenter of the show said, some of us have to go home. My name was called out first amongst other great people. We were dropped home. I cried. It felt like I’d lost such a great opportunity. My mom and late grandma were so sad cos they loved to watch me do the news. Then came another opportunity over 10years ago, I saw a TV ad and decided to apply for the news anchor position. As you see in this pic, I got my hair done at Ralph’s Hair Salon, new suit etc. I didn’t get the job. After KBC, I never got to anchor the news again. I’m grateful I did not get the job even though I felt dejected at the time. I battled severe Endometriosis in silence for over 19years. I think of how engaging the newsroom is and I’m grateful I wasn’t in that space. I’d have utilised all my sick-leaves and off-days and just declared redundant. There are many people like me who are bound by chronic illness and cannot do the things they love. I share your pain. But there’s hope. I’m grateful to God for His reminder that He will restore to you all the years that the locusts have eaten. Also Jer 29:11