Kenya: Citizen Journalists Give a New Face to Nairobi’s Slums

Through journalism, residents of Nairobi’s slums are taking it upon themselves to highlight injustices and create a balanced image of slum life.

Newspaper editor Vincent Achuka was behind schedule. The November issue of his Ghetto Mirror newspaper had arrived a week late from the printer, and he had an hour to finalise story assignments for the next. Then, he and his reporters had to distribute hundreds of papers by hand across Kibera, Nairobi’s largest slum.

It was a typical Saturday morning in the life of a slum journalist.

Achuka’s Ghetto Mirror, one of Kibera’s most widely-read newspapers, is part of a community media movement in Nairobi’s slums. Armed with camera phones and flip video-cameras, young slum journalists churn out printed broadsheets and YouTube videos. They aim to give voice to marginalised communities and fight negative stereotypes of slums. Despite police harassment and little formal training, the reporters have become essential local news sources.

“We have only two weeks,” Achuka tells his reporters as he gives out assignments. “Let’s end the year on a good note.”

Modest beginnings

Achuka took over the Mirror in August 2011. In October 2012, the two-year-old paper increased circulation from 1000 to 2500 copies, changing its name from the Kibera Mirror to the Ghetto Mirror after it expanded to cover more slums. Apart from Achuka, who has a degree in public relations and mass communication, the mirror’s 22 reporters are from the slums and learned on the job. They do all the writing, photography and layout.


Complete text linked here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *