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, 13 January 2017


It's an often asked question. Does language determine thought, or it's the thought process that influences language? For the media in Kenya, other languages often seem to dictate how ideas are expressed in English. And in the absence of an equivalent expression, the default is direct translations. 

A debatable case in point is the above cartoon strip.

Hypothetically speaking, the creative mind here (or the support editorial brains), could have had an internal monologue in a local dialect, and it made sense to say:

"I'm thirsty for tea"

This, by all means could be perfect English, but it sounds quite awkward both from the mouth and to the ear

The equivalent in, say Swahili, would be:

"Niko na kiu ya chai" or "Nahisi kiu ya chai",  depending on where one grew up.

What would work for me in this case is:

"I feel like taking tea."

But I'm not a teetotaler!

Friday, 6 January 2017


In times of rising political temperatures, some say the media should remain neutral. Others argue everyone is a political animal and that media owners and members of the press are better off declaring their political affiliations. It is foolhardy though, to purport to represent the views of an entire country. There's need to dash this myth of dashed hopes.

So, going by the front page scorcher above, just whose hopes were dashed?

I can't recall harbouring any expectations that in the end were not met, (I know many others probably did).

But that perhaps shows the media shouldn't generalise with such overzealous abandon, (unless it is a case of agenda setting with a hidden agenda).

After all, politicians in Kenya are more known for over promising and under delivering, at the highest cost to taxpayers.

In any case, those who support the ruling party/coalition are also Kenyans, and it is not hard to imagine they are jubilating!

Friday, 30 December 2016


The phenomenal reduction in the number of students scoring As, in Kenya's secondary education exam, has triggered an animated debate. In previous years, it appears, the number of authentic high scores was gravely exaggerated. A direct link can now be made with professional incompetences going forward. Newsrooms too, are not immune to the powers of a fraudulent A.

In the example above, it is clear that if this is a product of a previous A in English, then there's need to be worried.

And on the same note, an earlier A in Geography, giving rise to the scenario below, is a case for concern.

Clearly, not all countries bearing the 'Guinea' tag in their name are to be found in Africa.

An earlier awarded Grade A in History would also need to be recalled, instead of someone misinforming the audience about the political past of Mozambique, and how the key actors still inform the current conflict there.

In as much as creativity is encouraged in the media, you should not create your own facts, especially if they are at variance with well-established empirical truths.

Once again, do accept my sincere gratitude for making time to visit this site, comment, or share the content. Let's keep doing that in the coming year.
Happy 2017!!!

Thursday, 22 December 2016


The media in Kenya often succeeds in alerting the public about huge amounts of taxpayers' money either being misappropriated or brazenly looted. But the press sometimes fails the accuracy test, when breaking down mind-boggling sums involved. It boggles the mind too, how media negligence begets simple errors, through failure to execute due editorial diligence.

So, in the above article, these are the key facts highlighted below the main headline:

- A bridge

- 14 months project

- Delays

- 2 years later, project is still underway

- Frustration

- Cost of bridge?

- Sh350!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Spare a thought for the reader's frustration.

Don't spare the rod for the sub-editor!

Thursday, 15 December 2016


Many students improve their language skills by regularly reading newspapers. And this has led some Kenyan print media outlets to seek financial support to facilitate the delivery of newspapers to schools for free. Such a noble scheme could be jeopardised by the same media houses' penchant to kill grammar. How do you does!

Well, all editors of English publications in this part of the world, arguably, are not native speakers of the queen's language.

So, should such reckless editorial eyesores be excused?

I doesn't think so!

Doesn't you?

Again, we are constantly being reminded that language is dynamic.

But caution nevertheless, is prudent, for those inclined to be inventive in their language use.

Of what use is it to gain the crown of innovative language use and lose the sole purpose of communication?

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?