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.




Wednesday, 28 December 2011


2011 has been, to use a retired cliche, a very eventful year. Going through all the blog posts for this year, also has its own revelations, about what interests readers the most. There's no prize for guessing because the most popular topic is an obvious one. SEX.

And as we see off the year and prepare to usher 2012, here now is a run down of the most favourite posts of 2011, in descending order, based on page view counts.

Big revelation of the year for me: I need to cut down the number of full colons in my blog titles.

May 2012 grant you all your desired wishes.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011


From the onset, calling for a country-wide strike with Christmas looming large, didn't sound like a bright idea. The country has been treated to a not so jolly ride of one strike after another and it seems apathy or fatigue has set in already. But Francis Atwoli  and a bunch of unions in Kenya's transport sector saw things differently.

Atwoli had a day before the intended industrial action, delivered an inspiring speech that was televised live, in which he did somewhat managed to pass out as a darling of the down-trodden.

But the the lukewarm reception of the strike call, and the reality of attempting to organise a 10-day general strike in the middle of what is probably the most profitable period for the public transport sector, finally yielded some common sense in COTU.

Here is a glimpse of how this matter was perceived by Kenyans on social media networks.

Monday, 12 December 2011


Revise Editor. Quality Controller. The importance of either of these titles or holders of these positions in a newsroom should never have to be justified. Automation or the loftiest of technological advancements just seem incapable of eliminating 'human errors' in finished news products.

With TV news, the level of alertness required from an editor is probably more taxing because, well, whatever is being processed, be it news highlights, lower-third story tags or titles, sometimes have to go straight on air.

And matters get complicated if it's one person doing this wonderful example of high pressure multi-tasking. The result: the hideous spelling mistakes you see in your evening TV bulletin, the humongous grammatical howlers or simply put, a very dedicated 'mission possible' to massacre the English language.

The solution: a revise editor or quality controller. A fresh or last set of eyeballs to go through the finished news product, especially its textual or graphical elements.

Call me a division of labour junkie but at times you really give your best to ensure the product is error free, only to be made aware of some very embarrassing albeit elementary mistakes, just when it's impractical to redeem your grammar soul.

Now here is the funny part though. Most local newspaper or magazine publishers I know of, do have somebody designated to do the work of a revise editor or quality controller. And yet grammatical or even factual errors do abound in finished products.

There is usually an elaborate chain of people, nay, 'journalistic 'experts or gatekeepers, strategically placed in the assembly line of a newspaper, from the reporters, to the news editors, from the sub editors to the managing editor. And oh yes, somewhere along the line is often a revise editor.

It thus beats me, why a newspaper story should pass all these checks and publishing pit-stops and still hit the newsstands, stating that Uganda is among the major East African cities, like Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.

Neither is it that easy to comprehend why a 'famous' football team from Germany should be referred to as 'Hamburger!!' (Oh the horror, given it's the team I have been supporting for donkey years).

But then again, as a fellow error-prone journalist, I shouldn't be too quick to pass judgement.

Saturday, 3 December 2011


There's something unnerving for many people, whenever they hear or see a new face reporting news on television. But for me, as long as the new talent has the broadcasting basics covered, it's quite refreshing to encounter a new personality delivering news. So hail media interns and down with recycling of old hands or is it faces?

Granted, the vast experience and professionalism possessed by veterans in the media industry, is a major asset. But it should always be remembered they too, have a shelf life that will one day approach the expiry date.

And this is the more the reason why media houses should invest in unearthing more journalists to keep the assembly line going, it being more expensive in terms of time, energy and finances spent on training, notwithstanding.

In actual fact, because of their deep knowledge of the industry and hands on experience in the news business, it is the veterans that might actually cost an arm and a leg to contract and maintain.

But this is not to say the budding journalists full of zeal and determination to succeed, but lacking a name or brand recognition, should be exploited by being overworked and underpaid.

Far from it. Prevailing market rates should ideally be reflected in any compensation packages, because it is quite diabolic and shameful for a self-respecting news establishment to take advantage of vulnerable interns, who are eternally grateful for having been given a chance, to the point of being blind and insensitive to their own welfare needs or fair rules of engagement.

And of what use is it for a media company to help nurture this fresh talent only to let it go, especially on the not so rare circumstances, where it could be letting something special slip away?

Not every intern can or should be absorbed into full time employment. But a professionally done assessment should be able to pinpoint the future gems, just by evaluating their growth potential.

Like the Jamaican crooner, Winston Hussey, musically observed:
"Long cut draw sweat. But short cut draw blood."
So enough with the musical chair business in the Kenyan media scene. Let's give deserving fresh talent a chance.