Online Newspaper for Students at School of Journalism

Ex Kenyan BBC reporter meets MKUR journalism students

While on his work trip in Kigali-Rwanda, former BBC news anchor and reporter: Joseph Warungu made a stop at Mount Kigali University to speak to journalism students.

Warungu was invited by the Vice chancellor-Designate Prof Edwin Odhuno, with whom they are OB’s(old boys) to have a word with the students on how to ‘make it’ in the profession, an invitation he honored on 20th, May, 2023.

“Our goal as MKUR is to train professionals not only on a regional level, but also an international level”, Prof. Edwin Odhuno-Vice chancellor designate.

A teacher by profession, Warungu’s way into journalism and making a ‘big name’ out of the career is one that can be termed as ‘miraculous’.

Upon completing his high school, Warungu who had a strong passion for journalism devised all means to get into the profession but in vain, as there was only one institute in Kenya that trained journalism(Kenya Media Institute) which made the process competitive.

He was then advised by his mother to choose another profession and he, ‘unhappily’ enrolled for teaching.

While there, Warungu used to write random letters to Holly Wood stars and the BBC in a bid to chase either one of his passions: Acting or Journalism.

” I was just a young boy from a humble background with no knowledge whatsoever on how BBC recruits, nevertheless, I wrote random letters to the corporation who were always kind enough to reply telling me to try again”, he remarks.

His journalistic journey begun when he took up a part time job at Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) where he worked as a volunteer without any pay or incentives for a year, but gaining knowledge in news reporting and anchoring.

In 1990, Warungu joined KTN(Kenya Television Network) where he worked for two years before joining BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) as a presenter and producer for Focus on Africa.

At the UK based station where he spent twenty years, he was honored to interview some of the world’s prominent people like: Tony Blair, Princess Ann from the Royal family, Gordon Brown, among others.

On the African continent, Warungu has worked with notable media houses in Zambia, Ghana, Tanzania, Comoros, Malawi, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone, no wonder he ranks amongst Kenya’s top journalists.

Even so, Warungu remains a very ‘down to earth’ human being, a thing he stressed throughout his speech to the students.

“No matter what level you go to in this world, always remember who you are, and where you come from, stay humble and life will take you far”, he emphasized.

In 2011, Warungu moved back to Kenya to start his own media company as a way of giving back to the profession that got him to where he is now.

Currently, he teaches a ‘Masters of Arts’ in Digital Journalism at Agakhan University in Nairobi, he is a media trainer and consultant in addition to writing online articles for BBC.

“Working with young people is what excites me because I still remember to the dot the challenges I went through as a young boy”, he exclaimed.

A christian by faith, Warungu attributes his success to; knowing where he comes from(born of a single mother who was just a government secretary) and the school he went to.

In his final remarks, Warungu promised the students to meet them soon as his visit was impromptu, but since he’s always in Rwanda every now and then, he will make it a point to pass by the university.

He also urged them to always treat people well regardless of their status, to stay humble, focused, and professional so as to live long.

“Don’t stress about life so much, take it easy and try to chill; some people just interview an administrator and feel they’re on the top of the world, that shouldn’t be the case, anything you do in Media is about the people and not about your self”, he stretched.

Share this article