Updated: Sep 15
We all have those childhood dreams of who we become when we grow up. As a little girl, my dream was to become a journalist. I cannot pin-point what exactly drew me to journalism, but I remember watching TV reporters speaking very articulately, sometimes using new words that I was forced to look them up in the dictionary.
I was impressed by their mastery of the English language that seemed so flawless, so natural. Therefore, it was not a surprise when I joined university, I decided to pursue bachelor’s in education- majors English and Literature. I wanted to learn everything there was to learn about the Queen’s language.
One of my fond memories was watching the 9pm news with my dad. I would pretend I am the journalist and sign out with my name after the reporter. Soon after, my dad, would mimic me by saying;
“Sharon Kiprono, reporting for NTV, Nairobi.”
Unlike me, his voice is deep, one of those deep base voices that qualify for music choirs. Back then NTV was a new station and was the favorite in our household. After the news was over, my dad would send us off to bed because we were not allowed to watch TV after that.
After high school, I started writing for The Sunday Standard newspaper which was very popular among young people especially the Sunday paper because it had a pullout section for teenagers. I was almost 18 years old when my first article was published in the newspaper. That is still one of my favorite moments to date. I was elated. My dream of becoming a journalist was coming true... or so I thought.
We grew up without internet and smartphones so for me to send my articles for publication, I would write it on a foolscap and drop it off at the local office for The Standard Newspaper. The office was situated in the tallest building in my town. I was not allowed to go into the office because it was ‘appointment only’ so I would give the security guard my letter addressed to the editor in the main office which was in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital.
The guard would tell me that my mail with the rest would be picked up by G4S, a local courier service, and taken to Nairobi overnight. I would then wait patiently for Sunday to see my name right beneath my article which would look like this;
By Sharon Kiprono, former student Seko Girls’
I was proud. I must say that was my proudest moment as a teen. As for my dad, to date I cannot remember how he felt about that. Many African parents do not outwardly show their emotions, and he is one of them. Maybe, blame it on that. The only remark I remember him saying was “So your articles get published every Sunday.” It was more of a statement than a question. I took it as a compliment.
For some reason, my parents were not receptive of the idea of me becoming a journalist. In fact, they encouraged me to become a teacher, which I did. I was an A student in English and I first taught English in high school at the age of 19 before joining college. After graduating from campus, I went ahead and taught English again in high school for a couple more years.
My big break in journalism, or so I like to call it was in 2018. I took a chance and got myself an interview with the CEO of the biggest media house in Kenya, Royal Media Services. Her name is Farida Karoney. I had no experience in media, but I was armed with amazing stories that I had written for my blog. I sent her a sample and she emailed back asking if the story was true because it seemed so real.
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My journey with reporting begun there and then, the moment she believed in me and gave me a chance. She saw my passion for writing, for telling stories that touch people, for depicting people’s experiences in a way that makes them come to life.
All I am asking is for you to take a chance on Sharon's Cup of Tea Blog, where you will read stories of people who will inspire you, let this be your go-to travel blog, lifestyle and mental health blog, arts and culture blog as we traverse this beautiful world.