Daisy's World: My week at a global convening and why I'll visit Nairobi park


Wildlife in the Nairobi National Park.

Photo credit: Photo I Pool

What you need to know:

  • Most of the panels were dedicated to deliberating what impactful journalism looks like – how newsrooms are rethinking content goals and priorities.
  • The convening was also an opportunity to make new professional networks with people from around the world.

Last week, I attended a global convening in Nairobi. The event brought together participants from around the world to discuss the evolving media landscape.

Most of the panels were dedicated to deliberating what impactful journalism looks like – how newsrooms around the world are rethinking content goals and priorities.

Like every industry, the media world is going through changes – whether these are brought about by technological advancements such as artificial intelligence, shifts in consumer behaviours and interests, or even the inescapable fluctuating and uncertain economic climate.

I spoke on a panel specifically about what my newsroom is doing in effecting impact: How we are staying on course, and the next steps.

The convening was also an opportunity to make new professional networks with people from around the world – and I am not just talking about the usual countries: the US and the UK. I mean people from countries you only thought existed theoretically on maps such as the Comoros and Sao Tome and Principe.

It was one of those events where you ask your seatmate, “Oh, where are you from?” and they say something like, “I am a little all over the place. My mum is half Malagasy and half Zambian; my dad is a Ghanaian-American. I spent most of my childhood in Illinois, [USA], but I now work in the Gambia and absolutely love the culture!”

And right there, you know you have met the original Afropolitan described in Taiye Selasie’s essay, Bye-bye Barbar.

It was two days of intense learning, networking and setting up possible collaborations, followed by another two days of learning about other cultures and the latest nuances in the media industry at the Africa Media Festival.

Besides all the amazing professional stuff going on, it was beautiful to get to see Nairobi through the eyes of other people, most of whom were in the city for the first time.

I was re-seeing Nairobi through their eyes and falling in love with the city again.

However, two incidents happened that made it clear to me that I really need to know the capital better.

On the first day of the convening, two women, one from South Africa and the other from the United States, came to me, each holding a platter of fruits. They had a question.

“These look so yummy. I have never seen them anywhere else. What are they called?” one asked, and looked excitedly at me, waiting for an answer.

Awkward position

Guys, I had no clue what those fruits are called in English.

The name I know, which I am not even sure is a real word, is in my mother tongue, a language I am irredeemably and embarrassingly rusty in. And so as I looked at them, the only answer I could think of was: “What are they called, indeed.”

If you read this column and you know what vitunduli is in English, please shoot me an email.

What I didn’t know was that my woes for the week were just starting.

During dinner that day, I sat with two people who, upon landing in the country, had straight away gone for a safari at the Nairobi National Park.

They excitedly narrated their adventures and how striking my country is – convinced I had something to do with the beauty of the lions and gazelles in the park.

By the second day, I was actively reading faces of people and staying away from those who looked like they would ask me questions about animals because I am not sure I can confidently explain the differences between a leopard and a cheetah without referring to Google.

I am not proud of this, guys. I will visit the Nairobi National Park.

After the convening, my friend Susan, in her characteristic strategic approach to everything in life, sent a WhatsApp message asking, “What would you say were the biggest benefits of attending the convening?”

It had been a professionally refreshing time, so the answer was at my fingertips.

“First, I learned new ways of collaborating. And how much my role in impact measurement is evolving." In fact, the convening made me better understand the important role I play in this new frontier of journalism.

"Secondly, my confidence has been built through the presentation I made, affirmations I received and just realising how much more value I have, professionally.

"Thirdly, I made plenty of new and valuable professional networks. Finally, I saw many cute guys…,” I replied.

Of course, being the adult that she is, Susan completely ignored the part about the cute guys (she didn’t even ask to see photos of the cute guys) and was happy about the other gains I made at the convening.

Cheers to many more professional growth spurts, to global connections, and to better understanding the world we live in.

The writer is the Research & Impact Editor, NMG ([email protected]).