Kenya has more than 100 newspapers and magazines. Daily and weekly newspapers, weekly and monthly magazines. Two publishing houses, Nation and Standard media groups, dominate the print media and have the largest market share.
The Standard is the oldest mass circulating newspaper, started in 1902 to serve Indian civil servants, the business community in Mombasa and later the colonialists. In 1904, it was bought and renamed East African Standard. It grew to become one of the biggest news-papers in the region. The company also published the first Kiswahili newspaper Baraza.
The newspaper was bought by the Lonrho Group in 1967. The company changed hands again in the late 1990s and the current owners have maintained its focus as a newspaper that interrogates social, economic find political issues. It has since been renamed The Standard.
Its main competitor – and current market leader – is the Daily Nation. It was founded in 1959 by two English journalists, but was Bought a year later by the spiritual leader of the lsmaili community, the Aga Khan. He is the principal share holder in the listed company.
Nation supplemented the Kiswahili daily — Taifa Leo – that the Aga Khan already owned. The two have grown in influence and circulation.
The Nation stable now includes a range of publications: Business Daily, the weekly East African, Saturday Nation and Sunday Nation. It has also expanded into Uganda and Tanzania where it owns newspapers, radio and TV stations.
Another newspaper, the People, started as a weekly in 1993, but turned daily in 1998. lt is now revamping and the owners have brought in new partners. It is thus going to be a major player in the market. Another news paper, Kenya Times was acquired from the owners of the defunct Nairobi Times by then ruling party Kanu in 1983. lt has not been doing very well in the market.
In 2007, Nairobi Star (now The Star) was launched by Radio Africa, the owners of Kiss and Classic FM
radio stations, as a daily. Initially, the paper was circulated only in Nairobi, but it has now gone national.
In August 2009, the Department of Communication and Public Information started a weekly newspaper, Inside Kenya Today.