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, 8 January 2010


He is said to be among the most well paid radio and television hosts in the UK. He made some prank call that enraged many people. Jonathan Ross will now quit the BBC.

That the story has generated so much interest, as captured by Mail Online, is to me a bit strange. But what do I know? Going by the battery of journalists at his press conference, apparently I haven't a clue about the workings of the British media.

That he was being paid over 6 million GBP  per annum, (or about Ksh 5 million per month), is certainly unusual. But so is his decision to quit the BBC making front page news.

The tabloids like Daily Mirror can be excused for speculating on the whys and whereofs but why should the mainstream UK media like the Independent find it relevant to spur debate about the circumstances surrounding Ross's quit notice?

Granted that his shows were quite popular, could the general public actually be interested in all the side-shows of one person in the media deciding he was not going to renew his contract with the BBC?

Whether he did so because of pressure to accept an 80% pay cut or if other channels are lining up to have him on board after his 13 year stint at the BBC, hardly qualifies as news of public interest.

If Jonathan Ross was in Kenya

It does bring out the awkwardness of the media making one of their own as a news subject. That even the BBC can prominently keep repeating the story in its hourly bulletins is to me a curious editorial decision. Let alone getting discussed in Newsnight.

I can't help but try to imagine Jonathan Rose as a much loved presenter in my country. Okay. It would not be possible for him earn over 700 million shillings every year.

Other than a mention in the gossip pages or entertainment sections and 'celebrity' obsessed blogs, his departure would almost pass quietly.

There would be no press conference to announce his big decision which in any case would not be acceptable with 6 months still left in his contract. Otherwise his next visit to his employer's premise would have to be an escorted one.

The culture in Kenyan media is to announce when a big shot joins the company or senior management staff changes are made.

What is sauce for the UK goose is definitely not saucy for the Kenyan gander.

No comments: