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Thursday, 23 December 2010


In Journalism, opinions should clearly be separated from facts. But what if one's opinion as a journalist, approximates a commonly held truth? This is what was going through my mind as I prepared to do a piece to camera, at the scene of a horrific night time road accident, where I strongly felt there was need for some bit of advocacy journalism.

11 lives had been lost on the spot and 21 other people injured, on account of a very disturbing reason. That the driver of an on-coming vehicle had failed to dim his lights, as he approached the hired school bus carrying 33 Kenyans, returning from bride price negotiations.

It so happened the bus driver was just crossing over a bridge. And on being temporarily blinded by the full lights of the vehicle traveling in the opposite direction, veered of the road, crashed through the bridge's safety barriers and the bus plunged into the the river below.

So in my mind, it is so clear what was the cause of this accident. And as I do my piece to camera, I wind up with the lines:
"Dim those lights. It could save lives."
Initially, this didn't sound right and I was planning not to use the sign-off because it sounded more like I was either sermonizing or getting my personal view into the story. That is until our crew visited the hospital, where some of the injured had been taken.

The sight of the injured in different stages of getting treatment, the screams of a little boy as he was being stitched, even as the father recounted to us the full lights angle, as a possible cause of the accident, convinced me otherwise.

There comes a time, when advocacy journalism, in my opinion, has a place in news reports.

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