As Kenyans lose confidence in religious leaders, perhaps media outlets should be courting their faith in truthful journalism, writes Dickens Olewe.
Dickens defies neat categorization.
The Star Newspaper hired Dickens in 2010 to oversee the launch of the paper’s new website, and Dickens’ dedication and vision quickly earned him a reputation as one of Kenya’s most pioneering media professionals.
He is the architect of StarReports, Kenya’s first citizen journalism mobile application, and won a data journalism award from the World Bank Institute for a sports analysis service he built for the newspaper. While leading the Star’s data desk through the Code4Kenya fellowship project, Dickens built a health portal that enables users to get information about health facilities in their counties; users can also check on the registration of their doctors.
Dickens also won a grant from the African News Innovation Challenge to support the ‘SkyCAM’, an initiative to establish Africa’s first drone journalism project.
Dickens’ interest in blurring boundaries between technology and journalism and between research and practice makes him a perfect fit at the Networked News Lab. He has established links with two major universities in Kenya with a view to giving talks and leading seminars on digital journalism for media students. He is also an active member of the Hacks/Hackers Nairobi chapter He has been a guest speaker at several digital media training events run by Internews-Kenya, and is an adviser to Hivasasa.com, a Nairobi-based start-up.
In 2014, Dickens won a prestigious Knight Journalism Fellowship at Standford, where he is currently in residence.
Kenya has been a leader in the innovative use of drones - in journalism and conservation - but a recent ban on civilian use of drones now threatens that.
Should Kenyan journalists openly declare their political positions for the sake of transparency, or must they keep such views private? And at what cost?