Meet Miriam Musyoki, Editor-in-Chief, Pulse Kenya

Miriam Musyoki leads the editorial team at Pulse Kenya. Her passion for writing and her experience in the field both shine through in this interview where she takes us through her career journey, her inspirations and her personal interests when she’s off the clock. 

Let’s start from the beginning. How did you find your way into digital publishing?

Funny you should ask. Growing up, I always received a lot of compliments on my handwriting, especially from my grandmother – which later became compliments on creative writing assignments from my teachers in primary & secondary school. Eventually, I bought into the hype and at 32, I have no qualms in admitting that writing is how I plan to save humanity in the apocalypse. 

When I chose what to study in university, Communication & Public Relations felt like second nature. Ending up in digital journalism was a series of fortunate events that I could never have planned myself, including sharing 70% of university units with journalism students.

Editorial work suits my giftedness and how my mind works. Coming up to 7 years in digital journalism, and having contributed to two of Kenya’s biggest news websites, it’s hard not to get excited when the industry shifts and Artificial Intelligence (AI) becomes a player in our landscape! 

How did you get into Pulse?

Just a few weeks after my wedding in 2018, I received a phone call with an invitation to interview for a News Writer position at Pulse. The caller pointed out that I’d come highly recommended for the position and I was happy to interview. 

Credit to the teams that pioneered Pulse in Kenya, disrupting the country’s blogosphere. I’d inadvertently studied the brand as an outsider so I was thrilled with the idea of working for an Africa-wide company. And I saw a better opportunity to explore the parts I enjoy most in website content creation at Pulse.

I remember the interview being brief and walking away nervous that I’d probably not impressed the panel. But I got the job, took it and my journey at Pulse began!

As a News Writer, I highlighted the plight of a little girl living with SMA and it eventually became a national news item. I also won a peer award as the Continuous Learning champion in 2020. In my time as Head of News, I got my first opportunity to host a live political show (it was nerve-wracking!!!). Being Editor-In-Chief, and leading the reigning “Pulse Team of the Quarter” if I may add, well…I could write a book on being Editor-In-Chief, and I just might.

What’s your current role at Pulse?

I’m the designate wordsmith and spellchecker with the added feature of understanding “…nipee ile word inamaanisha niniii, unajua kile nasema…” (…give me the word, the one that means that thing, you know what I’m talking about..).

When I’m not attending to these superhero duties, I’ll be the one breaking an editor’s heart with a numbered list of reasons why their story isn’t ‘going up’ (getting published). But I make up for it. The Editor-In-Chief’s role, when performed with attention & care, nurtures a distinct editorial voice (philosophy, if you like) and sustains audience trust & growth. 

What’s a typical day for Miriam?

My days often begin very early as we prepare content items that need to reach our audiences at least by 7:00 a.m. Later in the morning, the editors & I hold a briefing where the day’s content is planned.

At the office, I’ll often be the one seated in a literal corner at the back of the Nairobi newsroom with a razor-sharp focus on my laptop, often looking at sets of analytic numbers and editing a lot of text. I’ll also spend a considerable part of my day looking at audience engagement on our pages and feedback on our published articles to learn what the numbers sometimes can’t articulate.

At the end of the day, I’m often eager to learn more about an issue we reported, or trying to understand a personality we’ve covered in anticipation of the next story. I’ve often come up with topics for quizzes during such expeditions. I also find that it makes me less inclined to hold immutable worldviews. 

How do you draw inspiration? What are your sources for inspiration?

I’ll often go to one of my many music playlists depending on what kind of inspiration I’m looking for. I’ve curated the songs I enjoy according to the mood or emotion they evoke in me and a lot of the time it will be “Miry’s Chill Vibes” that does the trick.

Especially for work, I also get inspired by the content we put out. I’ll often watch a video produced by the video team, see an engagement post on our platforms from the social media managers, watch as an article goes viral or hear about the clients we partner with and admire the work that went into it. I’m always inspired by the ingenuity, elegance and ‘the Pulse magic’.

On unwinding.

Miriam unwinding at the Nairobi National Park.

I really enjoy any activity that plays into my introverted tendencies. 

I’ll often be reading through at least 3 different books and I get a lot of joy from this, it’s my version of watching ‘who I want to be when I grow up’. I’m currently reading Prof Wangari Maathai’s “The Challenge For Africa”, Caroline Criado-Perez’s “Invisible Women” which has taken quite a while to read through, and a version of Friedrich Nietzsche’s “Beyond Good and Evil”.

I also picked up a rewarding hobby of attending ‘little’ concerts headlined by underground musicians, instrumentalists and poets around Nairobi.