Dubbed, the Baraza Media Lab, the space will provide Kenyan journalists, publishers, and media entrepreneurs a dedicated physical space to strengthen collaboration, networks and skills.
The lab will be run in partnership with Mettā, an innovation and entrepreneur’s hub, and will draw from the company’s established experience in curating meaningful and corporate innovation.
“We believe that supporting a vibrant media eco-system in Kenya is critical on a number of fronts. From providing an enabling environment for independent media to thrive, to supporting collaboration and providing the space for innovation to happen within the media industry, the Baraza Media Lab will be an important anchor for journalists and entrepreneurs alike. We look forward to working with the community and other partners as we build something transformative,” said Ory Okolloh, Managing Director at Luminate.
Luminate’s launch of the Baraza Media Lab comes at a time when Kenyan media faces several challenges.
“The Baraza Media Lab launch marks a watershed moment in the push to strengthen media freedom and independence in Kenya. For years, the Kenyan media sector has faced pressing challenges – including commercial pressure, low capacity, a legal framework fraught with gaps, and weak cooperation with external stakeholders. We envision that the Baraza Media Lab will serve as a catalyst to rekindle strong skills development, more collaboration, and ultimately stronger independence in the sector,” Churchill Otieno, President of the Kenya Editors Guild said.
A 2018 research report by Reboot found that the key challenges facing Kenya’s media ecosystem include a lack of innovation among media organisations, skills gaps among media practitioners, weak networking between media and aligned sectors and downsizing at major media houses.
The Baraza Media Lab aims to help solve these challenges by taking a bottom-up approach, focused on meeting the immediate needs of journalists and media stakeholders.
The Baraza Media Lab will be housed at Keystone Park in Riverside, Nairobi, and is expected to open before the end of the year.
“Mettā has built solid communities and will be transferring the same experience in building a more vibrant and engaged media community. It will act as the melting point of media support from talent, content, funding, and a place that journalists can call home.” Maurice Otieno, General Manager of Mettā Nairobi said.