Each week, frayintermedia highlights a journalist doing good work on the continent and honours them as our #FaveOfTheWeek. Meet Kenyan journalist Dorcas Wangira, who is among Avance Media’s 100 most influential young Africans for 2020. The Avance Media list recognises young Africans making outstanding contributions towards developing the continent.
Q. How did you become a journalist?
A. In my final year of campus, I took part in a UNDP writing competition about the then Millenium Development Goal 3. All I wanted to win was a tablet. I only realised when had I won the competition that another prize was a three-month internship at the Standard Group. That is how my journey began. After the internship was over, I kept volunteering in the newsroom until I became a news correspondent, special projects correspondent, freelance journalist and now a Health and Science reporter with Citizen TV.
Q. What does being recognized as one of 100 influential young Africans for 2020 mean to you?
A. It's such a great honour. I am extremely introverted and very comfortable working behind the scenes. My work is more visible than my face or name and that keeps me grounded. I hope the recognition draws more attention to my work and the impact it has. I wake up every morning aspiring to be effective, not famous.
Q. What stories should African journalists be telling more?
A. African journalists should hunger for solutions and present them in stories. People want to know what works not just what doesn't. Data-driven stories are powerful because they are steeped in evidence.
Q. What makes an exceptional journalist?
A. To be exceptional demands that you be yourself, and be authentic. You cannot build your brand from wanting to be like someone else. Journalism is a public service. When you realise that, your career is driven by something much higher than yourself. You also have to read and read voraciously.
Q. Why, despite all the challenges in the profession, do you stay in journalism?
A. Journalism is a public service. It isn't a call to fame. There are extremely difficult days. But when you see the impact your story has, even if it is in the life of a person, it reminds you why you began in the first place and why you have to keep going. Societies are poorer for the lack of information. I always ask, whose story is not being told? Who is being left out of the conversation?