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.




Thursday, 8 December 2016


Social media is not a respecter of the rules of mainstream media. Codes of conduct have been crafted to regulate sharing of online content. But it seems controlled discourse is not as interesting as disorderly conversations. The situation becomes more dire, when traditional media abandon editorial processes in their social media posts. Some tweets can only be posted by twits!

Where does one begin, in trying to ascertain the source of such fantastic errors?

I've previously argued this could be a reflection of a serious deficiency of experienced journalists in newsrooms.

I've also toyed with the idea that some mistakes could be deliberate, or acts of sabotage, used to settle internal scores.

I'm losing my mind now over this vexatious issue, so don't be alarmed if I conclude there could be some element of lunacy, in these frequent goofs, gaffes, bloopers and blunders.

This post was inspired by material supplied by a source.

Thursday, 1 December 2016


That the Kenyan economy is bleeding jobs in the thousands is hardly disputable. That tens of thousands of families could be in distress after the retrenchment of breadwinners is an almost certainty. And a section of the local media did well to highlight this grave issue. But why paint this gloomy picture about affected sectors and leave out the media industry? Kenyan media has two faces!

- Fact: Many journalists have been sacked in the last two or more years.

Question: Are they immune to the shock and desperation that often go hand in hand with job losses?

- Fact: The media has done a good job of capturing stories of economic hardships resulting from lost means of earning a livelihood.

Question: Can the media be cognisant of the sufferings of former employees, and accord them the same coverage as those dismissed by other companies?

- Fact: Reducing profits and shrinking revenues have forced many companies to reduce their workforce, and there's ample coverage of this in the media.

Question: Isn't it hypocritical of the local media to identify with the plight of retrenched workers and not appear to be pained by the tribulations of those it renders jobless?

- Fact: Analysis of various industries in Kenya show many companies are operating in difficult or challenging environments, leading to the shedding of jobs.

Question: Can data be compiled to show which local media houses are in distress and how many journalists have been laid off, and the findings published in the media?

- Fact: Stories abound in the media of how some enterprises in Kenya are doing away with experienced but highly paid employees to manage costs, and hiring fresh talent on contract.

Question: Is it possible to see a critique of the popular practise in the local media of recruiting fresh graduates and underpaying them, while overworking them, after sacking experienced hands?

Another Question: Don't you now agree that Kenyan media has two faces?

Thursday, 24 November 2016


To communicate, one needs to first understand what they want to say, in order to effectively convey the same to their interlocutor. But some Kenyan TV news outlets, it seems, share information they have little understanding of. This can be anchored on dubious linguistic competency, like not being able to differentiate between woes and woos. Wow! 

Given the nauseating frequency of such errors lingering on screen undetected, there's need to activate a rapid response editorial squad, before a newscast.

Its specific mandate will be but not limited to:

- ridding content of both textual and contextual irrelevancies, before it's aired

- evacuating editorial errors from the broadcast at first sighting

- identifying repeat offenders in the news production team for reacquaintance with operating procedures

These measures ought to be already deployed, or expressly provided for in the various editorial policies that guide operations in Kenyan broadcast stations.

Indeed, some TV news woes, it appears, are self-inflicted.

Woe unto a broadcast news channel that woos the audience without addressing its editorial woes.

Thursday, 17 November 2016


For over 60 minutes, the prime time news dragged on. And as is characteristic of Kenyan TV broadcasting stations, the newscast is laden with all manner of stories, analysis, and the now customary studio discussion. But something so obviously wrong kept scrolling across the screen throughout the bulletin.  The Jubilee link could be malicious, in this howler of a TV news crawler.

No need far any accuracy tutorial. This was a total editorial fail.

And one that is potentially costly...if the aggrieved party seeks legal redress.

The information in the ticker suggests a rather curious political affiliation for the former Vice President of Kenya.

Hopefully at no risk of being enjoined in any ensuing lawsuit, let me enlighten you on the full text of this messed up ticker, which ingloriously states:
"Kalonzo: If I don't get nominated for Jubilee Muthama will be to blame"
The channel might have some association with Jubilee, but again, hopefully, not to the extent of involuntarily co-opting major figures in the opposition, into that side of the country's political divide.

I don't want to ask if the TV station knows something, we don't know!!

Friday, 11 November 2016


Some mistakes in the media are innocent, inadvertent or even involuntary. But it's beginning to look like some other errors are either deliberate, or emanating from acts of internal sabotage. The name of the main subject of a women empowerment TV news feature was that of a very prominent man in the Kenyan public service. The apology afterwards failed to undo the damage.

A very inspiring feature was thus ruined by such an easily rectifiable on air blunder.

Again I ask, why is it that nobody in the studio gallery, during this particular news broadcast, could have noticed this error fast enough?

Was it that impossible to make an immediate correction, or at least stop the wrong caption from going on air repeatedly?

The news anchor issuing an apology for the obvious mistake at the end of the clip, is a tad too late and effectively inconsequential.

The first time the name tag mixup goes out, it's perhaps excusable and even attributable to human fallibility, given the 'immense' broadcast newsroom pressures.

But that for the entire duration of the 7-min plus feature, the mistake was never apparently spotted, is a big indictment of the news production crew's level of alertness, and a statement about the station's editorial inadequacy.

The belated attempt to assuage viewers, is indeed a useless anatomy of a failed apology.

Thursday, 3 November 2016


It is becoming difficult to get a clear understanding of important issues in Kenya, based on media coverage. The public's watchdog turns into a ferocious attack dog, only to end up looking like a lap dog. The audience get's confused in the process, especially when information is packaged haphazardly.

I very much want to believe the editor of the above article is aware the message being sent out is that it's DESIRABLE to have:
"...an accounting system which is vulnerable to manipulation."
Or alternatively, the said ministry is being EXONERATED from any financial mischief because it:
"...lacks the capacity to run an accounting system which is vulnerable to manipulation."

Is there still a place for dependable media accuracy, which begets factual coverage that responsibly pushes credible information to the citizenry?

A big story suddenly starts sucking in those adversely mentioned.

The media outlet that unearthed the supposed scandal is also hard pressed for alleged non-disclosure of self-incriminating facts.

And evidently, this has not escaped the scrutiny of the public, as depicted below.

Thursday, 27 October 2016


A distraught family is mourning the loss of a loved one, after a terror attack in northeastern Kenya. A crew from a local media house is filming and asking questions about the victim. A composed family friend shares the information requested. But the mother of the victim can still be heard wailing. An insensitive media yet again puts a news story above the privacy needs of a grieving family.

What informs the urgency to cover such stories, and why can't the affected families be spared the media glare, so soon after learning about the death of one of their own?

It is utterly cruel for the journalists to not even have the courtesy to stop rolling their camera, until the victim's mother is emotionally stable.

Moreover, any kind of discussion about the victim in her earshot, is bound to augment the trauma being experienced by the grieving mother.

Couldn't the interview be conducted away from the distressed mother?

In any case, it is highly probable that whatever the family friend is saying to the reporter, does not register much with a viewer, because it is just not human to ignore the sounds of a weeping mother.

For me, it's as if the reporter here was trying to downplay the pain of the victim's mother, in trying to get details about the final moments of the victim.

Just as Joe Hight so accurately observes in the Colorado Springs Gazette:
"Most victims or victims' relatives face a wall of grief in the aftermath of a death or disaster....They don't see into the past or future; they see the present and feel the pain of the moment"
Fellow scribes, follow this principle and desist from blatantly violating the grieving space.