“I am not a prophet but with the coming of the 4th Industrial revolution, no one will be spared. Not the media houses will be spared, not other formal employment will be spared and the sad thing is some countries are still debating whether they should move or not move ahead with technology,” said Prof Bitange during his talk at the Media Innovation Center’s Inaugural Fireside Chat.

Held on September 26th, Professor Bitange Ndemo gave an insightful and eye opening talk on: “The nexus of technology, media and storytelling in the age of digital disruption and economic uncertainty”, terming it as a crucial engagement with the great discourse on the 4th Industrial revolution currently haunting the countries in Africa. The event, held at the Media Innovation Center, Peponi road, was meant to tackle the issue of digital disruption in the media industry.

Professor Ndemo touched on four key trends of the 4th industrial revolution; Artificial Intelligence, Block Chain, Big Data analytics and Internet of things. He stated that

Journalism and innovative media content production will benefit from these four trends, and journalist, media professionals need to take advantage of these advances to remain competitive, viable and responsive to the needs of the citizenry,” he said.

Prof. Ndemo similarly mentioned that journalists should always do background checks to verify stories shared to them and not just report on the incidents. He gave an example of New York Times newspaper publishing criteria where a story would get up to five pages due to the intensity and work put into the story.

Compared to Kenya, many journalists give little to zero background checks due to the fact that sometimes media is used to propagate some stories removing the element of objectivity that dictates media role in the country. You role as the 4th estate is to look at facts and present the fact as they are. However, media removes the aspect of objectivity by propagating stories that are incorrect to favour someone’s agenda. Media should make use of Big Data, various sources where media can verify statements, to do evidence based investigative reporting where no one can dispute.’’

In his closing remarks, Prof Bitange encouraged media practioners to embrace the new technologies to tell our stories. He stated that media has abdicated their responsibility to the nation and they need to do more to tell accurate stories for the country through new and fun ways like Artificial Intelligence, Virtual and Augmented reality.

Making her opening remarks, Director Media Innovation Center, Ms. Njoki Chege, pointed out on the need for a place where media innovation can be encouraged and grown. She similarly thanked the guests for attending.

“As a media Innovation Center, we are looking to provide a safe space for media innovators to innovate and create new and fresh fun ways to share media stories. We will do this through various trainings that focus on sharpening and teaching skills to media innovators and also through our Innovators-In-Residence program that is designed to incubate or accelerate media innovation ideas for the region.”

Ms. Chege similarly mentioned the various state of the art facilities that will be available at the Media Innovation Center plus world class coaches, mentors and professionals that will help bring Media Innovation into a reality for the region.

Held quarterly, the Fireside Chats will be a series of highly interactive talks in which exciting speakers will discuss topics around media, technology, storytelling, the business of news and the future of journalism. The invitees for these chats will mainly be media practitioners, academics, media entrepreneurs and journalism students who want to understand the opportunities afforded by digital tools and technologies. It will also be a great space to learn and network from exclusive invitees.

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