A team of young, Tanzanian tech-savvy communication professionals is dreaming big. It seeks to usher a new dawn in media business management in Tanzania by optimising employee output and offering consultancy to media businesses on how they can operate with a minimal budget but still attain their goals.

Hamasa Media Group (HMG) has been hard at work. Under the leadership of seven innovators, the group is not just training individual journalists but also media stations across Tanzania.

Even with their hands seemingly full, the group seeks to get more organisations (mainly media businesses) to join their bandwagon.

The ultimate goal is to adopt efficient management methods, optimising employees’ potential and prudent time management to increase output.

Their activities are broad, ranging from communications innovation, Information Communications and Technology (ICT), media monitoring and the maintenance of data systems, video production and corporate publication.

Training journalists

According to the Managing Director, Baraka Kiranga, the aim of partnering with media houses is to train journalists on data-driven stories to help raise public accountability to reduce road accidents in Tanzania.

HMG has offered services to local and international organisations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), Japan International Corporation (JICA), Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC), Tanganyika Law Society, Tanzania Media Foundation, and Wildaf-Tanzania.

HMG is among the Innovators in Residence, fine-tuning their media viability ideas at the Media Innovation Centre (MIC) to up their stake and become more proficient.

They also believe the training at the MIC will help shore up their skills in media monitoring, an area Kiranga says is crucial for the advancement of democracy.

Kiranga noted that their trainings for individual journalists and media houses had helped transform businesses. He cited the example of Kings FM in Dar es Salaam. They’ve helped develop job references and mentorship programmes and put systems for funds expenditure in place.

“This task can be overwhelming, and as such, the team had grown,” he added.

HMG has since expanded and now boasts between 8-10 journalists with diverse backgrounds.

Journey to MIC

In 2020, HMG made its first attempt to join the MIC cohort. But unfortunately, they were not successful and retreated to the drawing board.

“We applied to join in 2020, but we were not lucky to make it, so we took time to test our ideas – what is working and what is not working in the media ecosystem,” Kiranga said.

“Then, in 2021, we tried our luck again. We had taken time to evaluate and hold discussions, ideation and so forth. When the deadline arrived, we submitted our pitch aware that it would be tough,” the young tech-entrepreneur recalled.

“We believe that at the MIC, there are lots of resources which we can access and also interact with other experienced people.” He said access to funding comes with the benefit of an introduction to alternative ways of doing things. “I think this will help us in the Tanzanian ecosystem.”

With their experience and training, they have redesigned their business approach, offering solutions to clients and partners. Luckily enough, Baraka says, they now have print publications willing to try their solution.

“Some of our team members will travel to Arusha, Morogoro, to meet some of the radio stations willing to try out our solutions. This was after introduction to the human-centred design approach,” he noted.

Challenges abound

But it has not been all smooth sailing for these innovators.

“The challenge is staying relevant; if you’re not careful, you may deviate,” Kiranga said, adding that they hold weekly meetings to review their performances to keep themselves in check.

“We also go on biannual retreats – in July and December – to take stock of what we have already done and make projections for the New Year.”

He described digital transformation and innovation as a new concept in Tanzania and regretted that some media managers are not welcoming as the fear of the unknown consumes them.

The group hopes to sharpen its fundraising strategy to attract new partners.

“We hope to have 70 radio stations that will adopt our business model approaches. Also, within the Hamasa team, we want to create something relevant that is working in Tanzania. This calls for new skills through capacity development.”



About the Author


Author ProfileIsaac Swila
The author is a Kenyan journalist with biasness for Human Interest stories, Governance, Digital Journalism and Sports journalism

Similar articles


How social media influencers shaped Kenya’s 2022 General Election

What role did social media influencers play in the election? What voice did they give in political discourses during and around the election period? And to what extent did political candidates involve the influencers in marketing their manifestos to sway votes in their favour? East Site writer Steven Omondi unpacks the details


Why audience research is crucial for Media Viability

The media industry is experiencing enormous transformation as new digital trends emerge. With the vast opportunities that the digital space offers, media owners and content producers must deliberately adapt to how the audience consumes content.


Opinion: Excavating the Truth through Fact-checking

With the increased Digital Technology at the palm of just anybody; there are a lot of information that distort whether deliberately or not highlighting the need of robust Fact0checking as Asha D. Abinallah explains


Social Media: Where should journalists draw the line?

Is there a danger in media personalities having a vibrant social media presence? Assuming they have a massive media following, should they self-regulate and filter what they post? And when they engage with followers, should their opinions be taken as personal, or does it represent the journalist’s media house? East Site writer Isaac Swila explores


The pursuit of gender-inclusive reporting in East Africa

Media stakeholders are raising concerns over the lack of gender-inclusive reporting in East African newsrooms. They want concerted efforts to ensure more female journalists get equal opportunities like their male counterparts.


Media Innovation Centre partners with Mozilla to launch Pocket

The partnership will also ensure that local content is curated and distributed to better optimize the product and meet the needs of Kenyan online users.


How media outlets can safely handle user-generated content

The news industry is constantly changing, and in the last few years, User Generated Content (UGC) has become a ubiquitous feature in news sourcing and packaging. However, media houses and journalists need to establish verification and credibility safeguards to avoid the misinformation trap.


Six tips journalists need to know when covering elections

Reporting on elections is, for many journalists, an opportunity to establish themselves as reliable political reporters. But the task comes with certain risks, particularly in the East African sub-region.

Stakeholders are now calling for concerted efforts, better planning and preparations for journalists before they are sent out on the field to cover Kenya’s high-stakes August 9 General Elections.


The perils of political reporting in East Africa

East Africa’s media grapples with a myriad of challenges whenever general elections approach. Not only do editors struggle with balancing the competing political interests, at times at the altar of professionalism, but individual journalists pay dearly, many suffering attacks in the course of their duties.


Enact policies that guarantee education for all

As Form One students settle into a new life in secondary school, this has also been a period of reflection. We have read tear-jerking and heart-warming stories of determined students who overcame many odds to get an education and how well-wishers came together in their aid.


Optimism in Tanzania’s media industry after a dark period

There is renewed optimism in the Tanzanian media space following the ascension to power of President Samia Suluhu whose regime is keen to relax some of the laws deemed punitive to journalists and media houses


RSF 2022 Press Freedom Index: A mixed bag for East Africa

Uganda fell behind, whereas Kenya improved its press freedom ranking in the Reporters Without Borders 2022 Press Freedom Index. And after years of media freedom decline, Tanzania appears to be on the right track. But overall, media freedom activists say there is still work to be done.


Good journalism does not come cheap

A free and independent press is the cornerstone of any democracy and the foundation of economic success, mostly because through our free press, we’re able to hold the leadership to account.


Opinion: Rethinking media houses revenue streams in the Digital era

To align with the changing times and stay relevant in the business, media houses are challenged to rethink their strategy and to adopt and understand obstacles and challenges they face towards rethinking and exploring alternative sources of revenue and on developing the digital strategy.


The legal challenges facing East Africa’s bloggers and influencers 

Bloggers and influencers have become an integral component of information sourcing across East Africa. The public uses blogs, privately run websites and social networks to crowdsource information from social networks, which they then publish and distribute. But it’s not all rosy for this group of content makers.


Afyatoon: How two medics are transforming lives through story-telling

The chances of meeting a medical graduate practising journalism are usually very slim, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. But two Tanzanian physicians have broken away from that norm by inventing a start-up called Afyatoon. It uses visual art technology to tell compelling medical stories. They narrate to the EAST Site their experience and share their vision for the future.


Five astounding findings from the MCK state of Kenya’s Media Survey

Did you know that in 2021 Kenyans watched less TV and spent more time on social media? Or that some Kenyans rely on family, friends, or even social media icons and bloggers as a source of news and information? These are some of the conclusions highlighted in the 2021 State of the Media Survey conducted by the Media Council of Kenya (MCK).


Uganda’s media strives to reinvent itself post Covid-19

The effects of the Covid pandemic continue to change the world in ways we had not imagined possible. The media is going through a painful transformation to keep up with changing production, distribution and consumption habits. In East Africa, Uganda’s Media Challenge Initiative (MCI) recently hosted a panel discussion on Media Viability comprising experienced journalists from Television, Radio, Print and Online/Digital media to address lessons learned from the pandemic. East Site’s Moses Mutente attended the panel and compiled this article.


Opinion: Africa must revamp journalism education to include media ownership

In this commentary, Uganda-based journalist Caleb Okereke shares deep personal insights into why media schools in East Africa must rethink their curriculum. He stresses the need for trainers to begin teaching media ownership to better equip journalism students for the dynamic and cutthroat job market by taking us through his journey as a journalism student and media owner.


Dwindling trust in media raises concerns ahead of Kenya’s General Election

For the second year running, a survey commissioned by the Media Council of Kenya shows that the trust level in Kenyan media has nosedived, raising fundamental questions on how media will play its watchdog role more so with landmark elections set for August 9. EAST Site writer Isaac Swila explores.


Opinion: Media needs credibility to survive the pandemic and digital transformation

Legacy media is currently caught between a rock and a hard place — the Covid pandemic and the rise and proliferation of social media has hit revenues hard. Some say this could signal the end of news as we used to know it. However, Ugandan decorated journalist Ernest Bazanye believes the industry will survive and thrive, but not without a fight.


Opinion: We should all be concerned about the future of media

Free media is often described as the fourth estate, the gatekeeper, the whistleblower, and many more. American singer Jim Morrison once said, “whoever controls the media, controls the mind.” No wonder governments worldwide try hard to control the press. But the media itself, particularly in Uganda, faces a severe identity crisis that requires urgent action, writes guest commentator Jimmy Spire Ssentongo.


Invest in journalists’ verification skills to help curb disinformation, expert Redondo advises

World over, disinformation is a virus that continues to permeate newsrooms giving media managers and journalists a headache on how to deal with it. Dr. Myriam Redondo,  a newsroom trainer in digital verification and associate professor in International Relations (PhD) explains how to tackle the virus in an engagement with EAST Site writer Isaac Swila.


Opinion: Never lose sight of your vision when fundraising 

No one sits down to write proposals only to seek money. There’s an idea, a vision, an important goal, the need for impact, and last but not least, the need for change.


Media faulted over its coverage of people living with disabilities 

According to the World Health Organisation there are between 60-80million people with disabilities in Africa and over 1 billion in the world, many of whom live under deplorable conditions owing to societal myths.


How Kenyan journalists are preparing for the 2022 General Election 

Kenyan voters will go to the polls on August 7, 2022, to elect new leaders. As expected, the media is burning the midnight oil, trying to develop strategies to cover the polls. But how prepared are they?


Tanzania: Striving for women digital inclusion

Tanzania has a massive digital gender gap. As a result, it is unlikely to hear stories about successful Tanzanian women, either in leadership or the media.


Three reasons why a Human Centred Design is necessary for innovation

Ultimately, HCD is a toolbox containing multiple tools you can pick out, show your team how to use them, and ensure it becomes best practice


Meet the Tanzanian journalist passionate about the right to clean water and sanitation

Mohammed Hammie is not your typical reporter. In 2019, the young Tanzanian swapped from being a regular journalist to media for community empowerment and has since specialised in telling stories about the human right to access clean drinking water, particularly in rural areas.


Kenya’s Media Council defends move seeking journalists quit before vying for election

According to the MCK Chief Executive Officer, David Omwoyo, journalists eyeing political posts should be subjected to the same rules that apply to civil servants. That is to leave office six months to elections. But that’s not the only requirement.