The Founder

Warungu is the head of media training at AfricaonAir, which produces Top Story. He’s a former BBC Africa Editor with over 25 years’ experience in international journalism

Joseph Warungu is an experienced media and communication expert and trainer working with AfricaonAir. This is a Nairobi-based organisation that supports African media to improve professional standards through practical capacity building and the production of multimedia quality content on issues that really matter to people such as health, education, agriculture, security and business. He is a former Knight International Journalism Fellow with over 25 years experience in international broadcast journalism and management.

Warungu worked with the BBC in London for 20 years, rising to become the head of the BBC African News and Current Affairs department. He was responsible for the BBC’s news programmes for Africa in English and supervised a team of over 70 reporters from across Africa and the world and 30 producers, presenters and editors in London. He is well travelled in Africa and is an experienced radio and TV reporter, presenter and editor. He writes and presents a regular a regular column on BBC Online and Focus on Africa radio.

Warungu regularly moderates high profile public debates in different countries, which have included the UK, Mexico, Norway, Nigeria, South Africa, Senegal, Qatar as well as Tanzania and Kenya where he chaired live TV presidential debates in both countries. Through AfricaonAir, Warungu has offered editorial and management support to a number of big media organisations including Azam TV in Tanzania, Ethiopia Broadcasting Corporation, AYV media in Sierra Leone, Zenj TV in Zanzibar, Royal Media Services in Kenya and other stations in Africa.

He has a passion for development reporting and democratic governance and holds a Masters degree in media management from the University of Leeds.

How Top Story Started

When he decided to leave the BBC in 2011 and return to his home country Kenya, Joseph Warungu was keen to give back to the profession that had made him who he is. He was concerned about the falling standards of journalism in Kenya.

Instead of standing by the sidelines to criticise the team, he decided to be part of the solution. He took up a part time job at the University of Nairobi School of Journalism, teaching broadcast presentation. He used this opportunity to assess the quality of journalism education and the calibre of students graduating to start a career in media.

Four years later in 2014, he started the Top Story University Investigative Journalism Challenge. He made the mentorship that he lacked as a young journalist at the start of his career freely available to final-year media students in Kenya.

As the Project Director of the African Story Challenge, a $1 million pan-African programme of reporting grants funded by the Gates Foundation, Warungu gained invaluable experience in running a pan-African journalism competition, which he brought on board Top Story. The rest as they say… is Top Story season 3… which is in the pipeline.

Connect With Warungu