Jeff Koinange has probably been the most dynamic and successful journalist in Kenya. The receipts are plain to see for all as the media personality has scaled the heights of his industry reaching the pinnacle by working at CNN.
The interesting thing is, his stint at CNN might never have happened had it not been for a ceratin forward-thinking shoeshiner. Jeff revealed this interesting fact on Friday, May 22, detailing how he landed the coveted job at CNN in the US.
Mr. Koinange was reading a chapter from his biography, Through My African Eyes in his new social media show A Chapter a Day. While still working at Reuters, South Africa, Koinange was offered a chance to work at CNN but was unsure about whether he should take the job.
“In 2001, I attended the CNN Multichoice Journalist of the year award in South Africa. It was here that I met Chris Cramer, he was then CNN’s Senior International Vice President. He told me that CNN was about to open a bureau in Lagos, Nigeria and asked if I would be interested.
“I thought about it for a minute and just as fast, I declined. However, Chris was very convincing. He gave me a ticket and asked me to visit Atlanta and spend a week and that if I liked the job I stay for a talk, if not I head back to Johannesburg, SA,” Koinange narrated.
He then went to Atlanta where he met CNN boss Ethan Jordan and the two spoke for a while before going to a shoe shiner.
“Doc looked at me and asked where I came from. I looked at him and answered that I came from Kenya, Africa. He then marvelled ‘Oh! Yeah, Jomo Kenyatta’s country! I looked at him and wondered how a shoe shiner in Atalanta knows Kenya. I now pay attention and listen to him attentively,” Koinange disclosed.
It was then that the shoeshiner convinced an unsure Jeff about the merits of working for CNN.
“He said, ‘Don’t worry man, you are alright. You can do alright here at CNN.’ He turned to Ethan and winked at him, and Ethan gave him a high-five, and then he looked at me and said ‘I like you, young man, I think you are going to finely fit in’,” Koinange recalled.
“Just like that, it was done. That was Ethan’s way of assuring himself that he had done the right thing by taking you down to Doc, the shoe shiner, to get an approval. Can you imagine that?” Koinange wondered.