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Larry Madowo: Why I quit BBC

Kenyan journalist Larry Madowo says he’s joined the Cable News Network (CNN) so as to return home and get an opportunity to tell more African stories.

The seasoned journalist last week quit the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) last week to join CNN as the African correspondent based in Nairobi.

He worked as the BBC’s North America correspondent in Washington DC, covering major US news stories including the Covid-19 outbreak, the 2020 presidential election, and the protests following the death of George Floyd and the trial of Derek Chauvin.

He also was a fill-in anchor for the network’s flagship BBC World News America show that airs globally and on PBS stations across the United States.

“I’m thrilled to be heading back home (to Nairobi) and starting a new assignment with CNN covering a patch that’s close to my heart. Whether I’m working in Johannesburg, London, or Washington, Nairobi has always been special to me. This is an amazing platform to showcase the full breadth of African life with a massive audience,” he told South African publication BizCommunity.

“There are so many important developments across the continent right now, and I’m lucky to have CNN committing resources and airtime to them. I’ve watched and admired incredible reporting from colleagues like Nima Elbagir and David McKenzie, and I’m looking forward to complementing their work.”

Madowo made his name in the journalism industry at Kenyan stations KTN and NTV.

He also briefly contributed to the Daily Nation newspaper.

His move to CNN was announced by the company’s vice president of News Gathering and Managing Editor for Europe, Middle East, and Africa, Deborah Rayner, in a press release.

She explained Madowo returns to Nairobi with a wealth of knowledge, having worked as the BBC’s North America Correspondent in Washington, D.C., covering major U.S. news stories.

“I just want to make my people proud. Madowo is my grandfather’s name, and I don’t want to bring shame to the whole family. I’ve come too far to disgrace them now, so I have to keep going,” he added.

He also said that his past year, spent working for the BBC in America, had been one of the busiest of his career – filled with several milestones.

“I was a part of it all from the coronavirus outbreak, to the summer of protests following the death of George Floyd and ending in the 2020 US presidential election. For a kid who grew up in a small village in western Kenya without a TV, I pinched myself a lot that I was here.”