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, 5 February 2010


Interactivity has been a much sought after component of the modern day media. So platforms are set up to tap into readers, listeners or viewer comments because the journalism process is no longer a one way street affair.

Many international media outlets have streamlined the mechanisms of incorporating user-generated content, especially into their news-based products and this has won them legions of loyal audiences.

But if the feedback is critical or one that expresses disappointment with, for example, the content or treatment, why don't the same comments get to be used as robustly as the positive reviews?

This has prompted me to look into how some viewers of NTV Kenya have been quite direct in their criticism of how I deliver the weekly political satire, 'Bull's Eye,' whenever I step in to cover for Emmanuel Juma, the creator of the news segment.

This is what LimuruBoy posted next to a Bull's Eye clip I had done, which was uploaded to YouTube.
'Where did Emmanuel Juma go??? This Albert Gachiri character is boring!!'
Over the years, so strong has the Bull's Eye brand been associated with Emmanuel Juma that every segment apparently, already has a pre-conceptualized expectation from some of the viewers.

lymo2005 emphatically opines: 

'Bring Emmanuel Juma back ! Nice try Albert but you are no Emmanuel Juma.'
Okay. We are dealing with two individuals here so clearly the styles of delivery should hardly be expected to be identical. And this is the point bigfish20009 tries to make.
'Can people stop this Emmanuel Juma nonsense!! It is becoming a nuisance. If you don't like the new guy, don't watch Bull's Eye. Period! Enough with your nonsense!!'    
But that is not enough to stem the tide of criticism. One poster even goes as far as declaring:
'If Emmanuel Juma is not there, KILL BULLSEYE!'
And nmbugua says:
'Damn, this reporter is sooo boring... it's like watching some boring news... wea is Emmanuel Juma bana... NTV... do something!!! '
To which mqenya is quick to add:
'Tru dat! he's missing the ingredients. Emmanuel ndio mwenyewe.'

And cuzslimshady readily agrees:
'Yea ur absolutely right dis job's specially meant for Emmanuel Juma.'
To a professional journalist, such comments should be taken in their stride. There is no point ignoring them, especially if they are posted in the Internet. And where possible, lessons can be drawn from them.

The truth of the matter is, you can't please everyone, but criticism might just be the magical ingredient needed to propel you to the epitome of your career.


Cynthia said...

I think you should borrow Kalonzo Musyoka's words in the last clip when he says "Mbona hamnipigii makofi a mimi naongea vizuri?".

Hehehe, all joking aside. I have never watched Bull's Eye before, so I'm looking at it with fresh eyes. There are obviously two different styles of delivery but both styles deliver sharp satirical criticism of politicians and their shenanigans in Kenya.

People are creatures of habit, if they are used to Emmanuel Juma you will be a distraction when you fill in for him. The same way someone else will be a distraction when they fill in for you after people get used to seeing your work regularly.

Albert Gachiri said...

You are so right Cynthia. It's a classic psychological conditioning thing. So should the dissatisfied viewers be granted their wish? In any case, out of an average of more than 10,000 online viewers, the negative comments are a very minute but vocal minority. I at times used to get many congratulatory messages after doing a Bull's Eye clip and then am hit with such stinging criticism. But my point is that such comments should not be ignored or overlooked, because they could be a useful barometer of the audiences' taste and preferences.

James smart said...

Hey Albert...think you nailed it on the head. criticism is part of our business and it helps gauge whatever we do, and truly speaking out of the 10,000 viewers how many go back on the net for feedback..dissatisfied or otherwise? well on sir

James Smart