How Former Citizen TV Anchor Inspired Launch of Media House
It was a visit to Nakuru by former Citizen TV anchor Johnson Mwakazi for a motivational talk that changed one Justus Oluoch's life. After his talk, he saved around Ksh40,000 for a camera, and the rest is history.
Anyone can be a journalist in this modern day and age, many celebrated journalists in the country and the world over have become successful in their fields, despite pursuing degrees in different programs. However, it takes passion, skills and talent to become one.
Many Kenyans are moving to start their own media ventures as mainstream media houses are being hit with pay cuts and losses that were prompted by the economic crisis the COVID-19 pandemic brought upon the country. For some, all is needed is a news platform, a niche and serious dedication, for others, just a camera would do to get started.
Justus Oluoch is the director of Its Ajus Media, a firm that deals with photography, audio production and film making. He also runs 254 Celebrities, a charity organisation based in Nakuru that visits children's homes, delivers sanitary pads to girls in West Pokot and helping the elderly.
The 28-year-old father of one holds a mass communication/TV production degree from Multimedia University. He told Daily Nation on Sunday, April 4 that his interest in story telling stemmed from his mother, as she, a teacher by profession, always shared the student compositions she marked.
“I was born in Maseno and raised in Siaya County. I grew up in a family of five and I am the first born. I spent my entire childhood next to my mum. From her I developed the interest in story telling since she always shared the student composition she always marked, yes she is a teacher," he revealed.
After his time in primary and secondary schools in Siaya County, Oluoch moved to Nairobi to pursue his degree. Afterwards he started off as an intern at Equator FM in Maseno before moving up the ladder to a news editor and voice-over artist.
He was then employed as a studio technician at Nairobi Aviation College's media studio before he left to start his own media venture where he not only directs but also serves as a content creator, writer and video editor.
"Its Ajus Media started as AjusCODE Production but I had to rebrand in March 2016 after a friend Frank Texas joined. AjusCODE only aimed at creating short funny clips but later, after rebranding, we introduced photography, documentary production, advertisements, content creation for film and a fully equipped audio studio," he added.
It was a visit to Nakuru by former Citizen TV anchor Johnson Mwakazi for a motivational talk that changed his life. After his talk, he saved around Ksh40,000 for a camera, and the rest is history.
Oluoch's simplicity and aggression have helped him get to where he is. He also appreciates the fact that creativity is a never-ending process, with his dream to do what mainstream media houses have done for years.
"We are joining hands with institutions such as schools and NGOs, we are also working with production gurus who've challenged us a lot in the field. Along the way, we have failed quite a number of times, we come up with creative ideas but they just flop.
"However, this has never held us down. We take the failures as lessons and move on to the next idea." he added
He thanks his mother, who wrote the first script he ever read as well as his two friends in campus who shaped his creativity. He also praises his partner as very devoted and persistent.
Many Kenyans, particularly those with experience in the journalism have chosen to branch out from the media companies they grew and made their name on, and started their own media houses.
Asha Mwilu left Citizen TV in May 2020 to start her own venture dubbed Debunk Media to create cool storytelling content for the African audiences.
Investigative reporter John Allan Namu left KTN in 2015 and started his own media house known as Africa Uncensored which focused on investigative features, while Alex Chamwada produced his well-known Daring Abroad Series under the Chams Media label.
Many other Kenyans have launched their own YouTube channels and news platforms in a bid not only to earn revenue for their own survival, but also to challenge the mainstream media industry with new ideas.