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Monday, 30 August 2010


The one thing I've learnt over the past year during my academic sojourn, is that a more responsive and innovative media stands to gain the most in the competition for audiences and ad-spend. Traditions entrenched in old media practises simply have to pave way for multimedia approaches.

Having had the privilege of studying in a developed country and now in a position to compare what I experienced with what is obtaining in my not so developed country, Kenya, some observations standout.

As journalism practise in the more modernised world races towards full multimedia platforms, Kenya's media landscape appears to be awakening to the possibilities inherent in opening up their services to audience interactivity.

The reasoning for lagging behind has been hinged on low Internet connectivity and limited technical know-how. But broadband has now arrived in the East African shores and the required knowledge can be as close as a Google away.

So now most broadcast stations in Kenya are spotting 'dazzling' sets complete with 3D simulation-filled virtual sets. Call me a naturalists, but it's had for my eyes to find favour in a studio background that looks so far removed from nature, the shine and glitter notwithstanding.

But whereas there appears to be an almost obsessive pursuit of the 'best' technical presentation styles in newscast sets, there is no equal effort being made to conceptualise unique content or story-telling formats, in my opinion.

In any given day, it is almost predictable that the news content across the various channels will be largely similar. And as you switch from one station to the other, the visual assault from the cacophony of colours, awkward, exaggerated camera movements and flickering video-mixing techniques used to fade images in and out is not very pleasant.

The station that re-connects with the 'content is king' maxim will definitely be ahead, when it comes to enriching their news with a multimedia experience for its viewers.

And here, multimedia interactivity means much much more than inviting comments through SMSs or displaying a website link. It's enabling the viewer to choose what stories to watch and in which order, among other departures from traditional news media formats.


Anonymous said...

I can see that the multimedia skill in you is manifesting. I think I agree with you that interactivity goes beyond inviting SMS or displaying a website link, it also involve audience providing content and the content going back to the audience via social networking sites and the debate continues. Go Gyimah boys Go!

Willis Angira said...

Well said Albert, i wouldnt agree more. There also seems to be aa fear to venture into the unknown 'new world'. if nation aren't doing it then ktn won't and vice versa. The emergence citizen as a major player in the industry seems to have changed this a bit but still a long way to go. Can't wait for the day online content will be given prime slots just like skynews.com gets

Albert Gachiri said...

My greatest fear professionally, is the failure to put into practise all I have learnt and eventually falling back into the 'beaten path' option. I have to actively seek to inspire progressive changes otherwise any new knowledge I have acquired counts for nothing, especially when it comes to upscaling Kenya's media content into the realm of a full multimedia experience. And yes. Broadcast stations in Kenya are generally timid about breaking into totally new ground, unless there is the slightest of hints that the competition is about to do so. This wait and see attitude is quite unfortunate and a big contributor to the lack of uniqueness.

Anonymous said...

As we embrace new technologies, remember to keep it simple and stupid - KISS. And that best is the enemy of good. Sometimes I sit and watch TV journalists trying too hard and thus losing me in the process. That is sad.