The Kenya Editors’ Guild on Monday celebrated the late Philip Ochieng by launching the Philip Ochieng Annual Lecture on Journalism.
Speaking during the inaugural lecture to hail the professional life of the late Ochieng, KEG President Churchill Otieno said the day will be marked every second Friday of May from 2022.
“Kenya Editors Guild will use this platform to promote excellence in media and journalism that Philip Ochieng stood for. I celebrate him for having the courage to be different because in the current world, that is what most people are afraid of. We should all celebrate Philip’s knowledge, service and commitment to journalism,” said Mr Otieno.
PO, as he was commonly known, died two weeks ago at a hospital in Migori at the age of 83 after practicing journalism for more than five decades.
Other speakers, majority of them drawn from different media houses in the country, highlighted the contributions of the veteran editor and long-serving Nation columnist to the media industry.
Standard Group Group Editorial Director Joseph Odindo said that Ochieng exemplified to them that journalism without knowledge was like an empty vessel.
Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) Secretary General Eric Oduor of Nation Media Group said that, “from Philip’s story, we learn that as a leader, you must display behaviour that is likely to inspire people, like he did.”
Ochieng rose from a cab reporter scaling the heights to be a managing editor and chief editor and also worked in Uganda and Tanzania during his long career in journalism.
Kenyan writer and academic Ngugi wa Thiong’o said he was shocked and sad to hear of the passing on of Ochieng. “He and I were classmates at the Alliance High School 1955-1958.”
KBC Managing Director Naim Bilal said: “He was a man who influenced journalism and politics in a very significant way.”
“Philip was an enigmatic and mystical figure that most of us heard of when we came to newsrooms. Philip was many things, he was intellectual and journalistic,” said Joe Ageyo, Editorial Director at Royal Media Services.
“If Kenya had its version of Pulitzer Awards, Ochieng would have bagged many – for his incisiveness, sheer bravery, high-mindedness, mastery of the English language and fidelity to all things journalism,” said Ochieng Rapuro, Editor in Chief at the Standard Media Group.
Adding: “My experience and readings through the years on Philip’s personal life, led me to the conclusion that we had a colossus of a man in our midst as members of the Fourth Estate. Ochieng was arguably one of the most well-read human beings within the boundaries of Kenya.”
He said that from his pen came thoughtful, deep, and purposeful works, not only served in the finesse of the English language, anchored in history and literature but also spiced with ideology and conviction.
PesaCheck editor Ms Rose Lukalo said that we must strive for the sense of perfection and the sense of duty in newsrooms again, “just like Philip did. He challenged us to be more, more than what we could be in the newsrooms.
Philip’s daughter Lucy Ochieng, said “Our dad spoilt us with so much love to a fault. We never thought that daddy could go even at his age.”
The family confirmed that the veteran journalist had succumbed to pneumonia on April 27 after being rushed to hospital.
In a bid to give Ochieng a befitting sendoff on 14 April, the celebrated journalist’s family and friends have launched a paybill as they seek to raise funds.
“Following the passing away of veteran journalist Philip Ochieng, family and friends request your contributions in order to accord him the befitting send-off,” read a message from the family.
Those in a position to help can send in their contributions to PayBill number 8040695 with the account name being Philip.
- I am a young Kenyan interested in new media and dissemination of news and information as it unfolds.