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.




Thursday, 28 February 2013


That Kenya's media has made significant progress, in the run-up to the March 4th General Election, is indisputable. It took a rare sense of purpose, one of great national importance, to bring out the strengths of joint media productions. This shouldn't end with the country's first ever live presidential debates.

The energy exhibited and seamless synergy between the talent and resources of the various media houses involved, was highly commendable and surely must not be made to await another five years to shine through.

The same entity that was apparently constituted to manage the presidential debates should not be disbanded. I want to believe that it has been properly registered and so the only thing left is perhaps to extend and expand its mandate.

And so whenever there is an event that is being broadcast live in all the local media outlets, this company will be given the production task and obligated to distribute the signal to all the players with a valid membership.

So there will be no more scrambling for prime space during, e.g, the official announcement of the winner of the presidential election. All the media houses will get the same high quality footage and then they can all go crazy in 'value addition' by way of studio analysis and the input of on location reporters/anchors.

It's not that competition among local media houses is bad. It's jut that all that creative and 'financial' energy at times, appears to be terribly misplaced. Viewers are regularly treated to new studio sets that probably cost an arm and two legs, and yet the news content remains wanting.

And that obsession with being the first to do this or that is becoming nauseating. For crying out loud if you are using a visual medium, concentrate more on showing your 'prowess' as opposed to telling it.

I felt cheated indeed, when a claim was made that the first ever Google Hangouts on Kenyan national TV, was broadcast on Wednesday 27th February 2013. If  I recall correctly, I blogged about this 'non wonder' by another TV station...when?...15th March 2012!

My unsolicited advice to Kenyan media houses: there is a whole world of difference between competition and being competitive.

Friday, 22 February 2013


It can now safely be said that Kenyan news broadcasting standards have crossed the line between technically deplorable and professionally adorable. After many years of being unable to have more than two external live video sources on air, one local station has finally cracked it. 

And what a beauty it was, to watch the four-way split screen. It's a refreshingly different delivery, and a far higher notch in the local broadcasting scene.

But, without wishing to blow the channel's bubble too soon, there's an uncanny resemblance between the above scenario and the one below!

And that is undoubtedly the benefit of adopting global best practises, to liven up and raise local broadcasting standards.

Here, it is more of skills and technology transfer, rather than pure aping of the broadcasting style of a foreign TV station, for those who get my drift.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013


And so it came to pass that Kenya got to witness its first ever live presidential debate. The combined resources of local media houses helped to achieve this milestone. And the moderators also came from media circles. How the two performed didn't escape the public's notice.

Call it unfair or even unwarranted, but it appears there was an element of dissatisfaction with one of the moderators, at least going by what has been posted in social media platforms.

Such is the very critical eye of the audience that perceived differences between the moderators, whether huge or mundane, will be mercilessly pointed out.

But thankfully, that is one thing anybody in the business will be made aware of, 'hours' after their journalism debut, and hence should be able to quickly identify suitable coping mechanism, to remain focused professionally.

The following is a sample of what the audience thought about the two moderators of Kenya's inaugural presidential debate.

Thursday, 7 February 2013


So, fellow Kenyan, you think your problems will be solved by a politician? Yet it hasn't occurred to you that the same politician could be the source and sustainer of the very same problems. It's your right to vote. But it's not right to be reduced to a voting machine.

The spirited efforts by some sections of the local media to prominently highlight issues and drive a people's agenda, ahead of the March General Election, still appear to be subordinate to the polarising posturing by politicians.

And therein lies the paradox of politics. Much as Kenyan politicians can test the very outer limits of one's patience, if not sanity, they still represent a formidable platform to institute positive change.

But that is not to say politicians should be accorded acres of space in the papers and endless broadcast airtime, to propagate 'pretentious' commitments to advancing the welfare of Kenyans.

Simply put for the umpteenth time, all the public utterances made by politicians need to be probed. That is what a respectable media ought to adopt as a standard operating procedure.

I once, as a TV reporter, foolishly thought the burden of proof was on a politician, who claimed in my news story that some people own land the size of Rwanda and Burundi.

My editor asked me a simple question: What evidence do you have?

Evidence. Evidence. Not one politician saying this and another saying that.