Young journalist learns the ropes of a career she is excited and passionate about
By Catherine Kuria
My grandmother – who I fondly refer to as nana – had a granary in the middle of her compound where she used to tell stories. One day she asked me what I wanted to be in life, the teenager in me full of crazy dreams bluntly answered a millionaire. Well, my nana (whose imagination is not short of crazy) replied that the only way to become a millionaire is to either rob a bank or become a journalist. “But why a journalist?” I chirped. She viewed journalists as people who get paid large chunks of money for being nosy and social.
That got me thinking. What does a course in journalism involve? Sure, many people are aware that it involves writing, reporting, editing and photography among other tasks. Jackline Karanja is a 21 year old lady who is passionate about life. She is good in journalism, acting and modeling. A lady driven by her dreams and goals, she hilariously says that giving up is a crime in her books.
“People are curious about my achievements at such a young age , but they ought to understand that it is God’s doing,” says Jackline. She got her first job at the tender age of 17 as a presenter and news reporter at Focus TV. The going has not been easy for her, but every day she wakes up filled with the zeal to try and become better as a person and professionally.
A trip down memory lane
Jackline attended Kamandura Girls High School in Limuru where she fell in love with English, Kiswahili, History and C.R.E. She refers to Literature in English as the love of her life since that is where her academic strength lay. Jackline is a skilled dancer and was a regular participant of the music festivals every year. This exposed her to the world of creative arts.
She scored a D+ in her Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE). Her academic star may not have shone as bright as she wanted but that did not deter her from dreaming. She knew she was special and had a talent to make a career out of. She notes: “I took that set back as my driving force because I knew I did not need to be an A student to make it in life.” She later joined NIBS Technical College for her tertiary education and graduated with a diploma in journalism and media studies.
Journalism and Its drills
She fondly narrates that when growing up, her grandparents would call her Jackline Kamonye – referring to a TV presenter who took anchoring by storm back in the 90’s. That stuck in her mind and whenever she got an opportunity to watch TV, she would keenly follow the presentations by anchors. The confidence she saw in different media personalities lit a spark inside her. After her stint at Focus TV came to an end, she moved on to work with Kiambu Chronicles as a reporter and writer. However, she is ready to call it a day at Kiambu Chronicles and is currently waiting to do her final screen test before joining TV 47 as a news anchor.
Jackline has learnt that good things take time to come and one has to be very patient. Success neither grows on tress nor does it come overnight. You have to break a sweat or even crack a bone sometimes before you make it. She advises: “Believe in your potential and trust that you can make it – your crown may tilt but never let it fall.” According to her, success comes when one is equipped with the right mindset, bearing in mind that human beings are unique.
She emphasizes that she has learnt from her short period in employment that giving up is not an option. “No dream is too big and no dream is too small, “she quips. Sometimes, it takes long to be where one wishes they were, but she can attest to the view that all dreams are valid.
What sets her apart from the rest of the professionals in the field is the confidence she oozes. Her uniqueness is her strength. “More often than not, people shy away from demonstrating their uniqueness; little do they know that it demonstrates their strength, “she emphasizes. She is a go getter who is not concerned by the fact that she might make a fool of herself in front of people as long as she achieves what her heart desires. “Journalism is a wide and diverse field, multi tasking is what keeps you relevant,” she observes.
She notes that in between all the glamour and glory of being on TV, comes a lot of hurdles. She has had to forfeit her free time and dedicate it to work because deadlines have to be met. She may have a lot of pressure but she keeps her head in the game and remains positive in order to deliver and out do her previous work.
“Greatness is not for a chosen few, you can be great if you put your mind to it. Earn it by focusing on the desires of your heart but do not forget who helped you along the way and stuck by you when the sun was bright on your end,” Jackline advises. According to her, the road may not seem pleasant or welcoming, but all you have to do is put your best foot forward and work hard. “Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do – don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better,” she adds.
She points out that to be successful, one should double his or her rate of failure. “You may think that failure is the enemy of success, but it isn’t at all,” Jackline observes. “ It is from failure that we learn important lessons which ultimately contribute to our success,” she ends.