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.

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Thursday, 23 March 2017

SWIMMING IN THE JOURNALISM OCEAN AND INAPPROPRIATE SEA MEN

Some editorial errors in the Kenyan media scene are atrocious. Others are just plain stupid. Yet some are pardonable, and there are those that are simply hilarious. But then there's news content that is disgustingly inappropriate. See, men, swimming in the journalism ocean, is best left for well trained sea men.


Women too, off course do a splendid job in the media industry.

But see, men, there's something about sea men that...you know...the devil is in the details, (especially at the very bottom of the picture above!).

You still don't get it? Let me build...sorry! Allow me to bring a closer view to you.


Now this is really a load of editorial embarrassment, (please excuse any implied crassness).


Thursday, 16 March 2017

SHEER NONSENSE, EDITORIAL DEFICIENCY AND NEWSROOMS NATIONAL DISASTER

There is sense. There is lack of sense. And then there's sheer nonsense, which some Kenyan media outlets have off late taken a keen interest in excelling at. The Editorial deficiency and inability to convey meaningful information to the audience should perhaps be declared a national disaster in newsrooms.


The on air blunders have ceased to be mere visual irritants.

One is at first amused, then bemused, before being left feeling intellectually abused.

In the news story tag above, this is what viewer is being asked to mentally process:
'Thugs shot dead woman after kidnapping her in Uthiru'
Television is full of make believe content but this is stretching it to the realm of lunacy!

Let's break down the appalling caption to try and establish the scale of idiocy being depicted.

- A 'dead' woman was shot by thugs.

- The thugs first kidnapped the 'dead woman' before shooting her.

This TV news channel should also be charged with first degree murder of the English language!

Thursday, 9 March 2017

FRESH DISAPPOINTMENT AND NEWSPAPERS PEDDLING STALE NEWS

The pace at which news is produced is now remarkably faster, because the work of journalists is greatly supplemented by ordinary citizens, and the digital space also demands frequent updates of posted stories. This means traditional media outlets ought to figure a way of taking significant stories forward, to remain relevant. Newspapers peddling stale news are a fresh disappointment.


So, a prominent Kenyan politician is taken ill and predictably all the major papers have this story on their front page.

The different editorial teams, it appears, had the same motivation of milking dry this unfortunate development, to whet the readers' appetite and possibly shore up sales.

Back to the content though, and one story conjures up a number of scenarios, according to the assigned headlines.

The opposition politician either is:

- still admitted in hospital due to food poisoning

- still unwell at the time of publication of the story

- out of danger after being treated for food poisoning

The date of publication of this story is Thursday 9th March 2017, the same day that the key subject was reassuring the country about his health!


Hear ye...Hear ye...!

- The former prime minister fell in on Tuesday 7th March 2017.

-  He was discharged from hospital on Wednesday 8th March 2017.

Is this an admittance of failure to get this story when it was still hot?

And if the information was released late, and privacy issues were at play, should the story still have dominated the headlines, so belatedly?

With almost all major media outlets having an online first policy, when it comes to pushing stories to the audience, it's mighty odd for this story to be prominently retold in retrospect in the dailies.

But you've got to respect the resolve to cash in on a 'freshly squeezed' juicy stale story!






Friday, 3 March 2017

POLITICIANS, MEDIA OWNERSHIP AND NEUTERED NEUTRALITY

It has been argued before that news coverage neutrality is likely to be neutered, where media ownership is linked to politicians. Editorial independence and putting public interest first comes a distant second to proprietary interests. And this is coming to the fore as Kenya navigates through an electioneering period. 

The bias can be oh so subtle. But the media owner's influence can also be elaborately projected.

In this newspaper front page, there is an obvious attempt to offer a balanced coverage of the ruling and opposition coalitions.

What is not so evident, is the calculated placement of the articles.

The splash has a prominent person/party of immense interest (from the paper's perspective), and an accompanying big image to underscore the 'special' treatment.

A pseudo-sidebar story, is then thrown on the periphery of the front page, where chances of eyeballs landing are deliberately diminished

But directly below it comes the clever stuff.

What comes to mind when the averagely educated person comes across the acronym NASA?

Something to do with space exploration right?

In what could either be a mockery of Kenya's main opposition outfit, or a crafty political masterstroke, what is placed in close proximity to the NASA article is a strategic deviation to:
"Seven new planets with water discovered"
Yes. Astronomy.

If you think this is a mere coincidence, enjoy your flight of fancy!

Thursday, 23 February 2017

JOURNALISM, DIMINISHING CREDIBILITY AND UNSUBSTANTIATED CLAIMS

Journalism strives to deal with first hand information. That's why reporters are tasked with making direct contact with news sources or those at the centre of the stories they have been assigned to deliver. This is one simple way of assuring the audience that a story is based on solid facts. Credibility gets diminished, if an article is based on unsubstantiated claims. 


Media houses have been known to spend huge amounts in pursuit of stories they deem important, even if it means crossing international borders.

So, it's quite strange that a story emanating from arguably a walking distance from the head office of a newspaper, unashamedly alludes to the paper not having first hand information about what is being reported.

The headline of the article above, instantly grabs attention like a good heading should, and entices the reader to explore the details of this, 'body blow to women' which resulted in the flop of the gender Bill.

But then follows a strap that destroys this wonderful buildup, by confidently stating:
"...claims are rife that most women were absent."
Claims. Claims. Claims!!!

- How is it that the reporter could not establish exactly how many female legislators were absent?

- Is this particular detail not a part of public records?

- By using 'claim' in the article, is it not tantamount to admitting the information being shared could be inaccurate?

- Can I claim this is lazy journalism?

Nay. I proclaim this to be editorial irresponsibility!

Friday, 17 February 2017

OF HEAVEN, HAVEN AND AN EPIDEMIC OF EDITORIAL ERRORS

Communication entails conveying sensible meaning. If the media reduces itself to communicating nonsense, then questions arise about its ability to properly process the information being published or broadcast. There seems to be a growing epidemic of editorial errors in the Kenyan press. And this is not the heavenly picture of a safe haven for professional communicators.


The writer of the above story tag wanted to communicate something to the audience.

And perhaps it was felt that some useful information was being shared

This is especially so, because no attempt was made to change anything, despite the glaring 'nonsense' on screen.

If the offensive story tag was properly screened prior to this broadcast starting, or at any point before the particular segment ended, then it would have saved the station from another bashing from enemies of media embarrassment.

I wonder what 'unsafe heavens' look like!



Friday, 10 February 2017

DEATH STINGS OH THEE INSENSITIVE MEDIA

A newspaper is a mass communication platform. The contents therein are meant to have the widest appeal possible amongst the audience. And this applies not only to story selection, but also the language utilization. Some expressions thrive in a specific context, and using them haphazardly may upset sensitivities. Verily verily I say unto you, oh thee insensitive media, death stings. 


The caption for the picture above, in a Kenyan daily, looks ingenious, although it's been lifted from a Bible verse.

The stitching of the tittle does appear poetic and evokes a powerful mockery of death.

In the Biblical context, the success of death over life is portrayed as ultimately futile, because through Jesus Christ, victory is assured of life eternal.

But, despite the intended message that life triumphs over death, the paper could be accused of trivializing the loss of someone's life.

You simply can't negate the pain of those who've lost a loved one.

Here on earth, death stings!