At the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) Coastal region bureau, a young and vibrant journalist leads the team in the daily operations that involve news gathering and packaging.
Unlike many bureaus that are headed by long-time serving members of the fourth estate, 26-year-old Juney Karisa leads the KBC team, a task she has undertaken since she was 24.
Juney’s media journey and current senior position could be ignorantly taken as lucky, easy or a walk in the park, but to her, it has been an uphill task characterised by strain, sacrifice, stubborn resilience, and hard work. This eventually bore fruit.
Speaking to kenyagist.com on Wednesday, February 26, 2020, Juney who is also daughter to former Tourism and Wildlife Minister, the late Karisa Maitha, narrated her admirable journey to the influential position.
Kenya Broadcasting Corporation Coast region bureau chief Juney Karisa
“My journey to where I am today started with my internship at KBC in June 2014. When I got the position, I knew I had a chance to prove myself worthy of the opportunity.
“I managed to do a few news items both in English and Swahili, as well as a number of feature stories which is a big deal for an intern. After the set three months of intensive work, I felt I had not done enough and therefore requested for an extension.”
She took up the extension which gave her an extra eight months as a volunteer journalist at the national broadcaster.
“Considering there was no pay, it was quite a challenge since I was still a student and I had limited resources even to facilitate my transport to work every day in addition to my upkeep.
“This led to me quitting at the end of my fourth year as my mother lacked adequate funds to support me both at school and at work.”
Juney would later complete her studies at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (Jkuat) and later joined Kilifi County governor’s press team before quitting to continue with her broadcasting dream.
Her dream would later be resurrected after KBC announced interviews for reporters and anchors, where she decided to compete.
Despite her competitors being experienced journalists she earlier looked up to, her confidence ran high and she eventually managed to be among the selected few starting her official roles as a reporter on March 1, 2016.
“Despite having worked in the challenging field, the first 3 months were a rather hard task as I struggled to step up the game.
“There were tears, breaking moments, false starts and distractors but the editorial colleagues always remained helpful,” added Juney.
Her resilience paid off in 2017 when she was appointed the Coastal region bureau chief, an assignment she began in February of that year.
Despite being the daughter to a former minister, Juney has always maintained a low profile, something she says has always helped her interact with every person freely.
“My dad passed on while I was 10 years old, and life got messed up a bit since then. My dad was a big pillar for many, but to my world, he was THE GUY! I have always wanted to make him proud.
“My first instinct is to make him proud always even if it’s posthumous. The same applies to my mum. I respect and admire her so much for raising us as a single mum, and my greatest joy is seeing her happy,” added Juney.
The former Kisauni MP ascended from a councilor in Kisauni in the 1970s to become a powerful politician at the Coast and an influential Cabinet minister in President Mwai Kibaki’s government.
Karisa Maitha died of a heart attack in 2004 while on an official visit to Germany to market Kenya as a tourist destination. At the time of his death, he was aged 50 years.
Former Tourism and Wildlife Minister Emmanuel Karisa Maitha who died of a heart attack while on official duty in Germany in 2004.