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, 20 October 2016


Time moves in a straight line, even if this is in a cyclic manner like a clock or the changing seasons. The past is behind, the future is in front, and the present is somewhere in the middle. This linear arrangement should always hold true. But a bold Kenyan media outlet wants us to believe in twisted timelines.

For any engagement with the audience to be meaningful, the information distributed by the media must be logical.

In the above newspaper article, either:

- the examination is set to last from November 7 to September 4 the following year

- or it begins November and miraculously ends in September of the same year.

Using this standard, one can throw a stone today, and kill a bird yesterday!

Thursday, 13 October 2016


Not everyone subscribes to spirituality and matters of faith are hardly homogeneous. It is, however, good practise to respect other people's beliefs. And humanity subverting divinity can either be permissible or intolerable. That's why the media ought to tread carefully with religious references. Creativity should not override civility.

For the above sports article in a Kenyan daily, it perhaps was a well-exploited opportunity to string together a clever and catchy headline.

It's indeed ingenious to notice that a football player goes by the name 'Jesus' and another's name could easily fit into 'Messiah' plus how these fit into a win and lose situations.

But failure to resist the temptation to craft a headline with Biblical connotations, runs the risk of upsetting puritanical sensibilities.

One can therefore argue that the headline in question is in bad taste.

Some of the headlines in the sports pages especially, are true gems, delightfully formulated and designed to impress even the most cynical of readers.

Blast away in your creativity but try not to blaspheme!

Friday, 7 October 2016


Artistic creativity is abundantly noticeable on Kenyan roads. Public service vehicles keep raising the aesthetics bar. And the extras on the ride itself could only have been imagined by passengers of yesteryears. Keeping up with technology is key but one can encounter a technological misnomer on wheels.

You would not be shocked to find pay TV channels on inbuilt screens, inside the elaborately designed public service vehicles.

At your home, such content is usually accessed via a satellite dish, often mounted on the roof for clearer reception.

When being installed, the technician usually twists and turns the dish until a strong and stable signal is detected, after which the dish is firmly secured.

So, you can appreciate my confusion and amazement, on seeing what looked like a satellite dish on top of a highly mobile public service vehicle.

I would have given anything and a half of something else, to have a peek inside, to figure out how the stability of the TV reception is not compromised by the constant movement of the vehicle.

It does for know, look like a technological misnomer on wheels.

The other plausible explanation is that it's all a gimmick to attract the paying public's attention.

Now that would not be a matatu misnomer!

Thursday, 29 September 2016


Unusual news stories are popular with the audience. They provide an avenue to come close to a strange experience, or phenomenon. The media regularly latches onto this affinity for oddity, and can even regale the audience with tales that prove 'gods are still alive'. 

But solid evidence is required, before the extra-ordinary is validated as factual.

The reporting of such a phenomenon, though, is not the same as proving its existence.

Unless...attribution is missing, which then places the burden of the resultant editorial fallacy on the media outlet.

Notice the quotation marks around the words...

'...incurs wrath of a shrine'

It's a safe way for the paper to disassociate itself from any unproven claims.

However, the article further expressly states:

'This proved that gods are still alive and potent...'

Isn't this a direct endorsement, which in other words, equates to the newspaper rendering the information factual.

Kenyan media houses, continue to tolerate such stories because like aforementioned, they seem to excite audiences, no matter how shallow, outrageous or even debased they may be.

I'm worried though, by careless journalistic omissions, which like in the above example, negate the importance of properly attributing frivolous and spurious assertions.

Real reportage is not necessarily about the reality!

Thursday, 22 September 2016


In a TV studio, news presenters or program hosts use an earpiece to get cues or instructions from the director. In a talkback system, the presenter can also communicate with the producer or director. This equipment is placed on or in the ear. And if it also has the presenter's microphone, it should extend to near the mouth. But in 'smellavision' the nose too, gets some of the action. 

Is the presenter above speaking through the nose for some exotic sound effects of the nasal resonance type?

Or does it have anything to do with having a nose for news?

Or maybe...it's to nose around issues?

Enough of being nosy now.

Suffice it to say that with television, hardly any detail is missed by the audience, and therefore, great effort should be made to ensure there's minimal distraction from what is being said.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016


A big product launch. Potential market traction. Sustained social media endorsements. Sponsored tweets to promote functionalities. All details are in order. Unless the 'inconvenient truth' was part of the online marketing strategy.

Mistakes do happen. But so do corrections.

If less than a half as much energy spent on complex undertakings, like coordinating a huge product launch, was spent on simple things like proof-reading the text in the branding board, chances of ruining that first impression would be greatly eliminated.

All it takes is a resolve to make amends, whenever an error goes out inadvertently, and not to assume your target audience won't notice.

The confidence in the product being launched could be eroded by neglect to address even typographical errors, leave alone weightier elements like accuracy or fidelity to known facts.

This particular 'inconvenient truth' posted on social media, hit me between the eyes on Tuesday, and given the calibre of the marketing team behind the product launch, I expected it would be promptly rectified.

Wednesday as I write this, the 'inconvenient truth' is still accessible on the 'hyping hashtag' for the product and there's no formal acknowledgment of the spelling misadventure.

You want to know the truth?

I can't deal with wishing away an inconvenient truth!

NB: Spotted on another associated social media timeline:

May the promised convenience be with you!

Thursday, 8 September 2016


Time or space are valuable factors, when putting together a news product. The selection of almost every word has to be justified in a newspaper or magazine layout, and even audio or video components are many a times edited ruthlessly, to fit a particular duration. So, it's quite surprising to see a paragraph repeated in an article. Is this notable intelligence or editorial negligence?

Assuming this was a deliberate decision by the publishers of this Kenyan daily, what could have been the main compelling reason for repeating the same information?

Emphasis- I don't think so!

Editorial negligence- Eureka!

What's more, one can get an excuse to conclude there could be an attempt to advance an agenda, which deviates from the expected neutrality in reporting such a story.

Why the repetition of this particular detail that is seemingly favourable to the central subject, in such a short article?

Notice also, the calamitous patchwork of a 'he-said, she said' reportage, evident in this story.

The repeated paragraph alluded to earlier, is actually attributed to two different people.

Is it Kamlesh Pattni?

Or is it Mukesh Vaya?

Who is saying:
"...the protracted dispute between UHDL and CBK was settled in 2008 through a negotiated settlement..."?
I say this he said he says sayings don't say much! You know what I'm saying?