OPINION: We are no longer mourning but celebrating the life of Robin Njogu
By Victor Bwire
It is no longer mourning. We are celebrating the passing on of a professional colleague, friend, journalism mentor, sociable and cool soul of Robin Njogu, who was until his death the Managing Editor for Radio at the Royal Media Services.
Go well bro! A gentle soul he was, and guy who cared by his work extra ordinarily.
For perfection and being on top of things in news; he was highly competitive; would never want to be behind news- he was fast with news, and his editing and contextualization of issues was high level- he loved his job and enjoyed being a journalist.
He would send you a script or story to edit, as you were part of his RMS team, I would add my input and return to him-and he would ask about what the code of ethics for the practice of journalism said a particular topic before running a story especially those sensitive one.
He took any complaints about stories from the radio stations he supervised very seriously and would take action, make correction or follow up with the respective reporter to make improvement.
Robin was well sourced and networked editor and undertook his responsibility so serious- even outside the newsroom, he would never leave his traditional Mac behind.
We built a friendship when I was a health correspondent at the Standard while he was on the same beat at Capital FM with Mike Mwaniki at the Daily Nation. Uhuru Park became our regular place as we frequented Afya House for stories.
Robin was a trained fact checker and always at the forefront in debunking fake news. He had over two decades of news management having also worked at Capital FM and Nation FM in Nairobi.
He was a graduate of School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Nairobi and the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication. A respectable journalists’ mentor and trainer, Robin was a highly sociable man.
He once served as the Secretary for Digital at the Kenya Editors Guild. Robin was harvested by the COVID-19 after nearly one month in hospital in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) on oxygen.
Interesting thing during that month, Robin, being who he was, kept his phone and chatted with friends, made jokes and continue sharing news to us. We joked and chatted- then one day he says : “Cousin, son of jacks Sentonga, be careful. COVID- 19 is real. It wants me to exit the group”.
We are extremely saddened to learn of the recent death of Robin Njogu, an outstanding journalist whose dedication to free and independent media served Kenya so well. On behalf of @USEmbassyKenya, I want to convey our deepest sympathy to the family and the entire media fraternity. pic.twitter.com/6dvrvBxLwF
— Chargé d’Affaires Eric Kneedler (@USAmbKenya) March 16, 2021
Robin took all precautions but once its your turn, there is no shortcut. Its painful and unbelievable, but that’s how death is- very cunning but swift.
Just a day earlier, we had met at the hospital with his lovely wife Carol, Judie Kaberia and Bernard Momanyi, trying to join efforts by other colleagues on how to get involved in the burial of the mother and the huge medical bill at that was accruing.
I was seeing my buddy for the last time alive! I remember in March 2020 when the situation of COVID-19 became real in the country, he was among the team at RMS that quickly worked on the in-house policy guidelines on dealing with the pandemic at the work place.
He invited me to train his radio staff on safety and protection measures- we did and we kept reminding ourselves of staying safe. More colleagues in the media sector and journalism profession in Kenya sector have been affected and infected by the COVID-19, latest being the death of Winnie Mukami.
I know colleagues and families who are struggling with COVID-19, in ICUs, wards, homes and hospitals- its tough. And its not they have been careless, but many times it just happens. That’s why we are appealing to authorities to allow, journalists, media practitioners and workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine as a matter of urgency.
It might reduce the risks together with them taking the already announced containment measures. Colleagues, COVID-19 is taming people and is within us. Your life, your family and colleagues’ lives matter, and you have a personal responsibility to ensure they are protected.
— Media Council of Kenya (@MediaCouncilK) March 16, 2021
Personal awareness and responsibility is as important as the stories you are covering. In addition, you must be lead examples to practicing what you are telling the public to do. Follow the containment protocols seriously please.
Yes, its uncomfortable and sometimes irritating putting on the PPE especially for non -medical staff, but we have no alternative- we simply have to the protective measures that we are telling others to follow.
Journalists must clean their equipment, never leave the equipment on the ground during field assignments and use boom mics during field interviews.
MCK guidelines advised that journalists and media practitioners assigned to cover the Coronavirus stories must do a risk analysis to ensure not only their safety, but the safety of their families, colleagues and the community.
It further advised that the journalists do risk analysis to assess your safety, level of exposure (visiting health facilities, interviews with suspects or those with high exposure to the virus) and discuss with your immediate supervisor.We pray for strength for your family.
Until we meet again Robin.
Victor Bwire is Head of Media Development and Strategy at the Media Council of Kenya (MCK).