Why My Profile Picture Is Not ‘Frenchlising’

Posted in Uncategorized on November 16, 2015 by SongaStone

My only issue with the sudden rampant huing of profile pictures with French flag colors is that most of you are less likely to do the same if what happened in Paris happened elsewhere. Even Facebook is less likely to create that ‘hue your picture in solidarity’ function. YouTube won’t change its favicon to resemble the flags of those places and most of you won’t even hear about it or even know where it happened. Yet, such, and much much more (no I’m not belittling anything) happens every day. Even in places that could fittingly rival Paris in beauty and memories.

While we have a collective and an independent right to select what we grieve over, as a species, we ought to reflect on what we’ve become given how global all our problems have become. Ebola is not an African problem for it can kill Americans and even end up on British streets. Non-Muslim whites can become terrorists. A child whose parents are killed in a drone attack sanctioned by your country can become the suicide bomber at your child’s school…

In the wake of the Paris attacks, much of the rhetoric from world leaders promises more bombs over Iraq and Syria where the same countries they lead have normalised death. Take note dear people whose argument is such that Paris is making headlines because bombs are rare in the City of Lights. The corrupted minds behind those attacks are saying otherwise. No place is normal today.

As more and more people colour their pictures red, white and blue, I wonder whether they are setting a precedent that will see them learn the colours of all countries given that nihilism knows no boundaries (one of the explosions was in the same vicinity as the leader of a ‘super power’). After all, if no human life is more sacred or important than the next, we should all be huing our pictures with different colours every weekend. Or, they are doing so because well, it’s Paris.

@SongaStone

Here’s to the next chapter: NBS TV

Posted in Uncategorized on October 22, 2015 by SongaStone
Photo Credit: Jjumba Photography

Photo Credit: Jjumba Photography

I am humbled and equally excited to announce my latest appointment at Next Broadcasting Service (NBS) Television where I join the digital department as the new online content editor .

The journey from one life chapter to another is sometimes strewn with depressive uncertainty, a tonnage of unanswered questions, detours, almosts and firsts. At many bends over the last year or so, much of me felt like it was losing to the resultant ghouls that haunted me. But to be human is to soldier on and be hopeful, especially during those times when there is barely anything to look forward to. Or so I continue to learn.

This next chapter brings with it more reasons to be hopeful and bespoke challenges that make taking the step even more exciting. I’m passionate about new media tools whose advent is endlessly changing newsroom dynamism and directly affecting how today’s journalist disseminates information, while empowering the public. Being part of the revolution on a stage such as NBS TV, a key player, is a welcomed experience. I look forward to being a part of a widely handpicked team of hard working and creative people aboard a ship that’s set sail.

Finally, a special thanks to those who extended a listening ear and firm hand these past many months; naming names only seems to dilute the special feeling your kindness brought and continues to bring. Asante!

And to the people who have entrusted me with my newest responsibility, thank you, too. Rolls up sleeves. Girds the loins. 

Songa Samuel-Stone MWESIGWA

@songastone

This Is What I Have Been Up To: athingunderstood.com

Posted in Uncategorized on October 7, 2014 by SongaStone

Dear everyone, hope this finds you well.

Been a while since I last put up something detailedly personal here. October makes it 10 months since I left Radiocity 97FM and moved to Nairobi for school at the United States International University.

A number of you, through comments, tweets, emails and inboxes, have been asking what I have been up to (which is evidence that school has had me pinned down). I hope this post, with which I intend to share where my journalistic journey is at, will answer the what-have-you-been-up-to question.

Moving to Nairobi reminds me of the first time I swam in the deep end. Those first moments when the coach threw me into the water, I had two options. Sink and drown. Or use my newly-acquired floating skills and stay afloat. I chose the latter.

The media environment in Kenya, or Nairobi specifically, is deep in many aspects. “More” might be the righter word. More zeal. More competition. More money. More radio and TV stations. More people who are good at what they do. More international channels setting up base. More possibilities and opportunities. More and more more.

To keep afloat in this deep end, I have found myself dedicating time to bring to existence an idea which first came to mind back in 2012. Coincidentally, the idea seems to sync with a growing trend at big news outlets such as the New York Times.

This is the idea in a couple of lines.

More than ever, the internet has made the consumption of news a very pacy and dynamic experience. With breaking news just a click away, journalists and those who employ them, have found themselves flying with this must-have-it-first kind of news dissemination.

The jostle has somehow shifted journalists from the initial responsibility of angling whatever it is they are disseminating in a manner that helps the consumer understand it. Rather, the commonest way of doing things today is breaking the news…more breaking until we have to break another story. Before the consumer can understand what the Marburg hullabaloo is about, we are telling them about Eurobonds and throwing numbers from a new alarming study. Factors such as limited resources make this model the affordable option.

Affordable as it might be, this way of doing things definitely leaves a gap that can only be filled if, as journalists, we pause and explain things once in a while. At the moment, there is a noticeable shift in newsrooms around the world to bring back the explanatory angle. Not like it had gone extinct but clearly, it’s been overshadowed by the BREAKING NEWS way of doing things.

My idea, athingunderstood.com, can somewhat be described as an addition to this movement in which journalists, media owners and even consumers, are starting to realise that breaking the news or having the scoop first is not enough. Information today is often carrying a never-seen-before story e.g. the ongoing Islamic State story in Iraq. If local audiences are to understand the issue at hand, which is every journalist’s intention, the role of explaining things is inevitable.

The A Thing Understood website is ready to go online and will be launched on October 9, which also happens to be my birthday. It is not a breaking news website. No. It is a place whose goal is to attempt and explain certain aspects of the news cycle as much as possible.

I look forward to hearing your comments about the site and while this makes for a lengthy read, it cannot end without a THANK YOU to everyone who wishes me well.

Thank you.

Songa Samuel-Stone

Follow @SongaStone