In July 2008, I travelled to Kenya to spend eight months at the Daily Nation, the Nation Media Group’s flagship newspaper. Not long before my departure, I had graduated from Columbia University’s journalism programme and received a “Young Professionals in Media” fellowship from Aga Khan Foundation Canada and the Canadian International Development Agency. This meant that my first job out of school would be as a news reporter on the streets of Nairobi, a thrilling — but nonetheless daunting — prospect.
Professionally, it seemed like a good challenge. Journalists are often placed in unfamiliar situations and told by their editors to write about new topics at short notice. Good journalists learn quickly and can assemble a bird’s-eye view of complex issues and disciplines. In my case, I had never been to Kenya before, and I saw this as an opportunity to study the country’s current affairs. I also hoped to understand the reasons why it endured dramatic and bloody unrest following a disputed presidential contest in December 2007.
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