David Herbling

Nation Media Group, Kenya

Alfred Friendly Fellow

Hosted by Chicago Tribune


David Herbling taught for an aid agency in Somalia and was a community facilitator in Kenya when he decided to follow his enthusiasm for community service into journalism.

Nation Media Group, the largest media conglomerate in East and Central Africa, selected Herbling as a graduate trainee in 2011 and gave him a full-time reporting job nine months later.

“My passion for journalism stems out of my deep thirst for information, learning and sharing knowledge,” Herbling said.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in English and Literature from Kenyatta University, Herbling spent a year as a teaching assistant for the International Aid Services training program in Somalia. He was a community facilitator for a youth peace program in Kenya. In the process, Herbling developed a love for writing and numbers.

“My career plans and goals are to strengthen my reporting and writing skills, grasp use of data to tell stories so that I can rise up to be an editor of a business publication,” he said.

Herbling, 31, now covers a wide range of business topics, including corporate news, governance, information technology, energy, finance and money markets.

In the time he has been a reporter on The Business Daily, David has emerged as one of the paper’s most prolific writers, covering different beats with diligence and perceptiveness,” said Joseph Odindo, a member of the Alfred Friendly Foundation advisory board and former editorial director for Nation Media Group. “Quite deservedly, he has won awards for his journalism.”

Herbling’s article on Kenya’s expansion into geothermal energy won an Energy Journalism Excellence Award, and his story on a utility’s freeze on electricity connections won a consumer award. Another article by Herbling revealed misbehaviors by Kenya’s energy company, which captured national attention and ultimately helped persuade the government to stop the energy monopoly from raising electricity prices, a big win for consumers.

As part of his energy reporting award, the Kenyan journalist took a six-day study tour in South Africa, where he met the nation’s leading energy officials and toured the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station in Cape Town.

During his Alfred Friendly fellowship, funded by Nation Media Group, Herbling will work at the Chicago Tribune. Herbling said the experience at a major daily newspaper “offers me immense learning opportunities. I hope to come out a sharper, bolder and more insightful business writer.”

Herbling added that he intends to “use the knowledge, skills and experiences acquired during the Alfred Friendly fellowship to deepen my reporting on business issues. The fellowship is also an opportunity for me to selectively borrow the best journalism practices from U.S. media houses and localise them to the Kenyan environment when I return home.”