‘Not all animals are equal’ is a phrase commonly associated with George Orwell’s Animal Farm and it has never rung truer in media.
As an entertainment writer, equality is a term quite that is quite foreign. This occurred to me when the Media Council of Kenya recently announced their call for entries for its Annual Journalism Awards (AJEA).
The awards seek to recognise journalists doing exemplary work in reporting using the different mediums, in their various fields. As expected, getting such an award is validating for any journalist. A pat on the back for a job well done.
Journalism is not a trade for the faint hearted. Reporters go through a lot to get a single story.
Sometimes they are forced to go to dangerous places. They get insulted, harassed and even have their lives and those of their families threatened.
Some live their lives in fear, not knowing where the next story will take them. But nothing beats the feeling of gratification that is felt when the story done helps put a right where a wrong has been done.
I have a lot of respect for MCK but why would they only give this recognition to some journalists and ignore the others?
Where do entertainment writers feature in all this?
I will tell you for free: nowhere.
And the problem does not just exist here at home but it appears to be a predicament affecting all the four corners of the world.
The entertainment beat that has been chosen by many hardworking and dedicated men and women in journalism is seemingly not as important as the others.
Such archaic beliefs about entertainment journalism need to be discarded.
Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o defied all odds to become the first Kenyan actress to win an Oscar in her role in the film 12 Years a Slave.
Her win was the epitome of every young person’s dream of making it big in the arts.
They could now breathe a sigh of relief that she has opened the door for them to be able to pursue this career path without prejudice and being looked down upon by the society for choosing a career that was considered a joke.
Kenya-born model Halima Aden became the first model to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine wearing a burkini.
The burkini is a swimsuit that is associated with Muslim women, which leaves only the hands, feet and face exposed.
This clearly shows how the entertainment scene is not something that can be shunned. Talent is valuable.
And some of these young talented men and women we would never have known if it was not for the efforts of entertainment writers who took time to write their stories.
They also face the same occupational hazards and their work is not just about attending concerts and having fun. It is time that we stop playing the favour card and recognise reporters from all their respective beats.
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