If you feel a news story does not measure up to expected journalistic standards, bring it to the Journalism Dry Cleaner. Through our collective wisdom, we will strip it of all offensive dirt.




Friday, 26 May 2017


In Kenya, the combination of music and politics has proven to be vital in securing an election victory. Musicians have now wisened up and are demanding their pound of flesh from politicians. As politicians seek to shore up voter loyalties, the musicians are demanding royalties for use of their productions. For the the media, though it's a case of royalties and misplaced loyalties.

In this part of the world, certain communities have a penchant of messing up pronunciation of English sounds, referred to as mother-tongue interference.

This could be a logical explanation for the mix-up of the lower news story tag above, which states:
'KAMP, PRISK demand loyalties from politicians'
You see, the mind could be playing a terrible game on the writer of the caption, such that the way they are used to saying, 'royalties' is how they spell it as well.

Or worse still, the person truly thinks he or she's typing 'royalties' and is even unperturbed by the sight of the word 'loyalties', because the mind is stubbornly 'seeing royalties'.

I wouldn't want to put my money on the probable fact that, here, we are dealing with a case of the writer not using the word, 'loyalties' in the right context.

I also strongly want to believe it is wrong to conclude the entire news production and studio crew in this TV station, on duty then, could not distinguish between 'loyalties' and 'royalties'.

After all, royal media has loyal viewers. (I hope you don't see what I did there).

Thursday, 18 May 2017


Yet again, editorial nonsense has graced the pages of a Kenyan newspaper. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then it's better for words to be banished from pictures, if the caption ruins the meaning of the picture. Of what use it is to seek to add understanding of what's happening in a picture, only to end up subtracting its overall comprehension?

That's what is apparent in the picture above, from a national paper.

It shows people in a sort of commotion, probably fighting or in a physical confrontation.

But instead of adding clarity, the explanation supplied on the side of the photo, heightens the confusion.
"Police officers protect irate women from attacking a suspected conmen..."
What is one supposed to make of this description, members of the press?

- That the women doing the attacking are the ones being protected?

- How do you even 'protect from attacking'?

- And since when is it proper to say, 'a suspected conmen'?

The competence of this sub-editor is suspect, I suspect!

Thursday, 11 May 2017


Repetition of facts for emphasis is acceptable in the media  But tautology is usually frowned upon since different words end up repeating the same meaning, where even one word would have sufficed. What remains unbearably irksome though, is the stating of obvious facts.

It might be that editor is unaware of the irritation they are unleashing upon their audience.

Or perhaps steeped in blissful ignorance, the editorial gatekeepers couldn't care less if there's material that doesn't add value but potentially subtract interest levels.

In the above article's postscript, the reader is being told that:
"The writer is a writer..."
If I may add, the writer wrote a well-written write-up!

- This blogger is a blogger, journalist and news editor.

Thursday, 4 May 2017


The media plays an important role of enlightening the public. Yet, when partaking from Kenyan news outlets, one at times is left feeling dumber. Confused wondering if one could be the only one not understanding the content. Or worse still, convinced that the media cannot be mistaken and whole-heartedly believing even news forgeries.

What does the word forgery actually mean?

According to the online Cambridge dictionary, forgery:
...is an illegal copy of a document, painting, etc. or the crime of making such illegal copies.
So, going by this definition, the heading of the newspaper article above wants the reader to perhaps visualize an original piece of land, and then stretch the imagination a little more and see the accused person making an illegal copy of the same land.

Forged land?

Ridiculous, right?

One is left wondering what wrong one has done to deserve such an editorially-induced mental anguish.

Thursday, 27 April 2017


Headline writing is an art. The end product is so designed to attract attention to a story. Keywords to string together are cleverly selected, to grab the reader's interest at first glance, usually based on the condensed information being conveyed. Then there are those specially crafted headings that ooze aesthetics. 

One just can't help but marvel at the beautiful newsroom creation depicted above, from Kenya's only regional paper.

It doesn't look too contrived and in my opinion, serves such a rare treat of editorial brilliance.

Or maybe I'm just a sucker for thoughtful puns.

Either way, the remarkable effort by this headline writer ought to be applauded.

In this part of the world, such imaginative packaging of news content is hard to come by.

The default standard is often atrocious, clumsy or even nonsensical toplines.

There's need for more creativity in news writing. And that's the bottomline!

Friday, 21 April 2017


These are sensitive political times in Kenya. Movements and pronouncements by politicians are closely being watched. Information circulated by mainstream or social media is  also critical because details can be packaged to either augment or deflate the chances of election aspirants. The wrong combination of images and information can be quite a devastating media misdiagnosis.

The subject in the picture accompanying the link to the story above, closely resembles one of the most prominent opposition leaders in Kenya.

And the nature of the story is highly likely to generate an almost immediate motivation to click on the link, presumably by associating it with the image provided.

Is it a case of click-baiting?

Regardless, this would be in bad taste.

As to who is culpable here, it's quite a complex matter.

- This particular link was posted to Facebook by a social media user not the mainstream media outlet.

- The story itself is five years old.

- The webpage one lands in, via the provided link, bears no image at all.

- The details of the actual story pertain to a different person, whose picture would be nothing close to the one provided in the 'offensive' link.

The Internet may not remember who is responsible, but don't' forget you could be liable for what you post.

Thursday, 13 April 2017


Kenyan TV news has a remarkable penchant for drifting towards sensationalism, in the mistaken belief that what is shocking will always gel with the audience. It's a pity that a news story seeking to highlight the moral decadence in the society, can actively add to the decay of public morals.

There's need to first point out that what adults do in private is pretty much none of anyone else's business, including the prying eyes of the media.

So, this particular TV news story sought to address the issue of perversion among consenting and supposedly non-consenting adults.

But it went horribly wrong for family TV viewing, (in spite of the warning by the news reader introducing it), when the line of interviewing, (or cross-examination), went way beyond acceptable decency levels, from the overtly aggressive journalists.

And the dirty clincher was the airing of a video clip of not so child-friendly toys!

To serve what purpose I dare ask? Was this so critical in taking the story forward, and if so, shouldn't there have been blurring or soft-focusing of the damn gadgets?

What could be of concern to the public and authorities, is perhaps the co-opting of children in despicable acts that rob them of their innocence, though this seemed to have been of secondary importance in the story.

And that's how the Kenyan media can end up violating the same moral values it's trying to ensure the audience upholds.