Illustration of colorful books on a shelf against a dark background.
Photo courtesy of Michael Wandati
Photo courtesy of Michael Wandati

Table of Contents

The basics

What made you become a content creator?

Michael Wandati of the Kampala Dispatch: I've always had a passion for storytelling and a keen interest in current events and societal issues. Journalism allows me to explore and share these interests in a meaningful way. Becoming a content creator was a natural extension of my journalism training, providing a platform to engage with a broader audience, innovate with digital media, and contribute to the public discourse. My unique perspective, shaped by diverse and versatile experiences and background, allows me to offer fresh and insightful viewpoints in my work.

What are some of the challenges you face as a content creator?

Michael Wandati: One major challenge is keeping up with the ever-evolving digital landscape. New platforms and algorithms continuously change how content is consumed and distributed. Additionally, balancing quality and quantity can be tough; there's always pressure to produce more content without sacrificing depth and accuracy. Managing audience engagement across various social media channels and handling negative feedback constructively are ongoing challenges. Furthermore, maintaining journalistic integrity and adhering to ethical standards while navigating commercial pressures can be challenging.

What are some digital publications that you follow?

Michael Wandati: I follow a variety of digital publications to stay informed and inspired. These include The Kampala Dispatch, Daily Monitor, New Vision, BBC, CNN, The East African, The New York Times to mention but a few, for their comprehensive coverage and investigative journalism, Wired for their insights on technology and their impact on society, and Medium for their diverse range of personal and professional stories from independent writers. Additionally, I keep an eye on emerging digital platforms to understand new trends and innovations in the industry.

Choosing syndication

Why did you decide to syndicate your content with Newstex?

Michael Wandati: Syndicating the Kampala Dispatch's content with Newstex was a strategic decision to increase our reach and credibility. Newstex offers a reputable platform that distributes content to a broad network of professional and academic readers. This helps our work gain visibility among key audiences who value high-quality journalism. It also allows us to connect with other content creators and professionals, fostering collaboration and learning opportunities.

What do you think are the benefits of syndicating your content through Newstex?

Michael Wandati: The benefits include enhanced visibility and access to a wider audience, including industry professionals and academics who might not otherwise encounter our work. It also provides opportunities for additional revenue streams and ensures that our content is part of a trusted and respected network, which can bolster our professional reputation. Furthermore, the analytical tools provided by Newstex help us understand our audience better and tailor our content accordingly.  

Pros and cons

What do you like most about creating digital content?

Michael Wandati: I love the creative freedom and immediacy that digital content creation offers. It allows me to experiment with different formats, such as videos, podcasts, and interactive graphics, to tell stories in more engaging ways. The instant feedback and interaction with my audience help me refine my work and make it more relevant and impactful. Additionally, the ability to reach a global audience and make a difference through storytelling is incredibly fulfilling.

What do you dislike most about creating digital content?

Michael Wandati: The constant demand for new content can be overwhelming and sometimes detracts from the time needed to produce in-depth, well-researched pieces. Additionally, the pressure to keep up with trends and maintain a strong online presence can be exhausting and distract from the core mission of delivering quality journalism. Additionally, dealing with negative feedback and ensuring ethical standards are maintained in a fast-paced environment can be challenging.

What inspires you to keep writing?

Michael Wandati: I'm inspired by the impact that well-crafted stories can have on people's lives. Whether it's bringing attention to underreported issues, providing clarity on complex topics, or simply entertaining and engaging readers, the potential to make a difference keeps me motivated. Feedback from readers who have been informed or moved by my work is also a significant source of inspiration. Continuous learning and adapting to new challenges in the digital landscape also fuel my passion for writing and creating engaging audio and video content.

What are the top 3 tips you can give to others wanting to develop successful digital publications?

  • Know your audience: Understand who your readers are, what they care about, and how they prefer to consume content. Tailor your content to meet their needs and interests.
  • Consistency is key: Regularly produce high-quality content. Consistency helps build trust and loyalty among your audience.
  • Embrace analytics: Use data to guide your content strategy. Analytics can provide valuable insights into what works and what doesn’t, helping you make informed decisions and refine your approach. Additionally, be open to experimenting with different formats and platforms to see what resonates best with your audience.

Where do you see your publication in 5 years?

Michael Wandati: In five years, I envision the Kampala Dispatch growing into a leading voice in digital journalism, known for its in-depth reporting, diverse perspectives, and innovative storytelling techniques. I aim to expand our reach globally, increase audience engagement, and continue to adapt to the changing media landscape while maintaining our commitment to high-quality journalism. I also hope to foster a strong community of readers and contributors who are passionate about impactful storytelling.

What has been your proudest achievement as a content creator?

Michael Wandati: One of my proudest achievements has been successfully launching and growing a digital series that highlights underrepresented voices and stories. Seeing the positive impact these stories have had on the community, and receiving feedback from readers who felt seen and heard, has been incredibly rewarding. This project not only reinforced the importance of diverse storytelling but also showcased the power of digital media in amplifying important issues. Additionally, building a loyal and engaged audience who values and supports my work is something I take great pride in.

Michael Wandati is a distinguished journalist and the current News Editor at the Kampala Dispatch, a leading print and online publication in Uganda. With a robust background in journalism and a deep passion for storytelling, Michael has carved out a notable career dedicated to informing and engaging audiences with high-quality, impactful journalism. With a vision for the future that includes expanding the reach and influence of the Kampala Dispatch, Michael Wandati remains a passionate advocate for the role of journalism in shaping a better, more informed society.