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Tuesday, 5 April 2011


It is a week that will be full of coverage from the International Criminal Court, in The Hague, and players in the Kenyan media scene will attempt to outshine each other, mostly by reporting live from the Netherlands. The one ingredient that almost certainly will be in short supply, is the 'Wow Factor.'

And here, the 'Wow Factor' does not in any way refer to a misguided attempt to mesmerize the Kenyan audience by simply proving you can relay stories from a foreign country. Neither does it have anything to do with telling the most basic of news stories.

Citizen Television's Alex Chamwada reporting from The Hague

I'm a strong believer of the school of thought that warns journalists against belittling the intelligence of their audience. So when doing a news story, one better ensure it's properly researched, edited and packaged.

Granted it might not always be practical or applicable, I also think attempts should be made to always infuse fresh information or story angles, in order to give a thoroughly re-told story like the Kenyan ICC cases, a new lease of life, to grasp and maintain the viewer's attention.

KTN's Beatrice Marshall reporting from the Hague
Moreover, on the actual day that the Kenyan suspects will take the stand, the ICC has indicated it will be streaming the proceedings live on its website and Kenyan media establishments will be able to patch to this feed and re-broadcast free of charge. No camera's are allowed inside the court but the audio/video signal will be made available in the media centre.

As such, all Kenyan media stations will probably be broadcasting the same material, when the ICC hearings begin on 7th April. The uniqueness battle then, will be won by how much the stations that have sent crews to the Netherlands, will move as far away as possible from doing 'parachute reporting.'

NTV's Joe Ageyo and Rita Tinina reporting from The Hague
It will not be about retelling or as we in the media like to put it, 'recapping,' what already many viewers will have already had access to. But rather, intelligently interpreting the proceedings, breaking down the hard facts, getting expert opinion and going easy on the urge to be descriptive, by focusing on that itch to be analytical.

Therein lies the 'Wow Factor.'

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

On this one i agree with you Gachiri - it will be interesting to see how well they'll execute the last part of your suggestions seeing as it is just a mention, and we already know what each of the six is accused of doing.