12 journalists graduated from the Standard Group Academy, a prestigious training program that takes young and budding journalists through several months of intense multimedia training at the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications.
The graduates were selected from 220 shortlisted candidates last year, and afterward, embarked on a six-month rigorous multimedia training at the university. The multimedia training, sponsored by Standard Group, was combined with a concurrent mentorship program, under which the trainee journalists were paired with mentors, including senior editors and experienced journalists at the Standard Group to guide and advise them.
With the training, the journalists are set to transform content at Standard.
"The program is designed to create visionary leadership and enhance capacity to discover innovative solutions to current and future problems, focusing on local and addressing global issues," stated Soraya Shah, the Senior Broadcast Manager at the Aga Khan University.
At the Aga Khan University, the graduates were trained by a seasoned team, with many of the trainers being respected and seasoned journalists with experience reporting in Kenya and globally.
Nicholas Siwatom, Standard Group's Human Relations Director termed the graduation of the journalists and their subsequent entry into Standard as a new phase for the company.
"We have been taught a lot on different platforms and we are confident that we will be able to deliver in all these platforms. This is the best curriculum," said Emmanuel Too, one of the 12 graduates.
Wilfred Ayego, one of the parents of the graduates, hailed Standard for offering opportunities to young people and using a fair recruitment process.
Kipkoech Tanui, Standard Group's Head of News expressed confidence that the training offered to the journalists has prepared them for the difficult task ahead, in an era where journalists are increasingly held to account by the public and as Standard Group moves towards 24-hour content production.
Standard Group's Editor-in-chief, Ochieng Rapuro, reminded the journalists about the great responsibility that comes with journalism.
"There is a disruption of the understanding of what journalism is -- the very aggressive attempt to blow dust on our faces and smoke the room so that we don't see clearly what journalism is about, and that has led to an unfortunate attempt to equate journalism with socialites and entertainers," Rapuro told the graduates, reminding them that journalism carries a big responsibility to society and is not an avenue to fame as it has been made to appear in recent times.
Over the years, Standard Group has been known to mold young reporters, transforming them into competitive journalists. Previous training programs sponsored by the Standard Group have produced some of Kenya's best journalists, many of whom have gone on to produce award-winning stories.
"Although we assign them particular platforms we know that they can perform competently across the board. Going forward, we will be deploying these skills across all our platforms under the business transformation project we have kicked off this year," Standard Group Chief Executive Officer Orlando Lyomu said in a speech.
"They are also trained to understand audiences and produce varied content as per the demands and needs of our consumers," added Lyomu, noting that this training was essential in empowering the journalists to source for content in a way that is ethical and socially aware.
The graduates will report to their different roles at the Standard Group Plc, including print publications, television, radio and digital.