Your name and what do you do?
My Name is Harith Salim; I am a Journalist. I have been working for Nation Media Group for over a decade now, but I was elsewhere before.
How did you become a Swahili news anchor?
Being a news anchor was by Grace of God. Personally, I had totally different plans for this life of mine but after all God is always Right! Secondly, I think the love of Kiswahili which is easily my first language contributed as well. So when I was called upon, I said, Why not? I had the courage and confidence of the language as instilled by my late parents. (May Allah Forgive their Sins and Make their souls rest in peace)
What were the challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?
Life itself is a challenge, but the real challenge was lacking an opportunity to prove myself in this field. There has been a misconception of not believing in people you don’t know, which I think is pulling us behind. SO if you are denied an opportunity, do not sit back press on and one day things will look up!
What is a typical day for you?
Days have become so mechanical, that’s the disadvantage of employment. Doing the same thing over and over again. So basically, I report to work at around 8, have an editorial meeting, prepare for the daily shows, and edit news scripts then finally presenting the news to the general public. And my day is made!
You grew up in Mombasa, if you had the resources the youth have today would your life have been different?
Our days were much different from what it is right now, you really had to struggle to get what you really wanted. It was like getting everything the hard way. Growing up in Mombasa, you had to work extra hard to prove that you can do it regardless of the situation and if we had resources that are available now, I think things would have been different.
What tools of today can the youth use to create employment for themselves?
For the youth, seek knowledge to become a job creator not a job seeker, so for those aspiring to make sense out of their lives, try out new things. Start your own business, for journalists for instance, save some amount to buy a camera, shoot your own stories and script then sell your ideas to media houses. If you a writer look for and write interesting human interest stories and features and sell your ideas to magazines and other publishing companies. You can as well start your own blog, Blogs that make sense not otherwise. That is how people start earning by making use of their talents and skills, don’t wait to be employed. Make a difference, be unique and instead of looking for jobs in companies, the companies will be looking for you
What are some common myths about the journalism profession?
Journalism is considered the easiest job one can do but believe me it’s not. For instance, TV can give you the best platform to make a fool of yourself, so it requires a lot to be a journalist. Journalism is a field that requires 100% commitment. It’s a well of knowledge and ideas unlike other professions.
How has the popularity of the Internet affected your profession?
The internet has given the ‘perceived’ platform for everyone to be a journalist. So news both genuine and fake spread so fast. So many people consume more information from the internet through social media platforms. Although there is a danger of consuming fake information. On the other hand, the internet helps a lot in getting information instantly and it has made live events the order of the day without delays that we used to experience before. Also information is got and disseminated while still fresh. As you know, news just like vegetables is perishable.
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
I guess I don’t have the power to answer that. Only God Knows. But if wishes were horses then I would wish for so many things that won’t fit the space.
Parting shot will always come from what I love doing the most. Akiba ya Maneno…. Tatizo sio tatizo, ila tatizo ni mtazamo wako kuhusu tatizo. Basically, for the youth of my beloved town of Mombasa, just know that the impossible is the untried.