Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Digital Journalism (MADJ)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Prof. Nancy Booker

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Thrity Engineer-Mbuthia


Graduate School of Media and Communications


The purpose of this research was to better understand the experiences of journalists as master’s students. In Kenya, master’s programs have expanded significantly, attracting journalists who view them as opportunities to upskill and enhance their abilities. The researcher involved journalists from various newsrooms in Kenya to learn why they enrolled, the causes of study delay, and interventions that empower them to complete. In this study, 33 journalists from four newsrooms in Kenya accepted the call to participate in the study, either via answering questionnaires or interviews. Of this total, 31% of the participants (11 journalists) volunteered to be interviewed, while 69% (22 journalists) completed questionnaires. The findings of this mixed study showed that a majority of journalists enrolled in programs to enhance their careers and professions. Other dominant factors included gaining a competitive advantage, especially in a shifting industry and skill development. Whereas a good proportion reported having trouble with thesis writing, the number was higher among students who attended public universities (75%) compared to private institutions (60%). Another portion blamed thesis supervision and mentorship, but the study also found that these challenges are bipolar. Proactive journalists experienced less stress while studying and reported taking charge of their learning endeavours. They considered supervisors not as barriers but as pivots that can drive them toward better performance, whether in classrooms or thesis writing. The study also discovered that the strongest interventions ranged from time to study, financial and moral support, and personal agency. The latter, personal agency, emerged as key for journalists keen on learning new capabilities that they planned to translate into their lives. One of the main recommendations was that besides inculcating research early into master’s studies, there is a need to inspire student agency, as this would give students better chances of experiencing positive learning and career development.