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, 30 October 2013


Denials about officers from the Kenya Defence Forces engaging in looting, during the Westgate Mall terror attack, have now been dissipated. For a while, the Kenyan authorities had trained their negative energies on the media, for bringing to light this atrocity. That's why due apology to the Kenyan media is now overdue.

In an exemplary fidelity to truthful reporting, local scribes, and later the international press, showed the devilish operation of some security officers, in the course of carrying out angelic duties.

But questions still abound as to whether the entire truth has come out, or is KDF just doing some damage control.

This, after the public outcry that greeted their explanation of troops captured by CCTV cameras, as having only been 'looting' bottled water.

Sample below, some reactions from the social media:

Monday, 21 October 2013


It probably is a high voltage story. Especially for one particular Kenyan media outlet. But in an apparent editorial stunt, the same news outfit has put out a misleading online update. It perplexingly appears to justify that which is being so vehemently fought against.

The recently ousted Registrar of the Kenyan Judiciary, has been on the war path, in a spirited attempt to clear her name and salvage her reputation, in the wake of impropriety accusations levelled against her.

"They proceeded to carry-out their own Kangaroo investigations, the process of fair trial had not began yet they terminated my services."

So how, some one please explain, can she abruptly be purported to defend the decision by her accusers to send her packing? That is what... "defends Friday dismissal..." would imply, right?

The content of the media briefing being alluded to, is clearly contrary to the heading that is being used to disseminate the video clip via the Internet.

And if this is proved to be erroneous, it could be quite embarrassing to the said media house.

More so, given the manner in which the current flowing through this 'high voltage story' is perhaps being felt right to the upper echelons of the same establishment.

Thursday, 17 October 2013


The reporters on the ground were not clueless. The journalists, who drafted the initial script had a major hint. And the editors, who approved the final version definitely had the right idea. But the final product reeked of a herd mentality, spewed by media of mass misinformation.

In a worrying case of Kenyan media sinking into speculation territory, with careless abandon that possibly spread panic, there was a remarkable collective effort to showcase witless journalism.

Tales of devil worship paraphernalia being discovered in a recently shipped container, were given prominence in all the major broadcast news channels.

Local residents were even interviewed to supposedly lend credence to the sinister plot being woven by the media, and the juiciest sound bytes were picked, as if to help viewers conclude that indeed 'dark forces' and their perceived emissaries were at play.

Yes. There was an official from the Kenya Revenue Authority, narrating about the 'shocking' discovery. She was probably just doing her job of enlightening the public, the prudence of it all being still debatable.

But it isn't such a wild assumption that from the pictures being splashed on all the channels, a good number of viewers had from the onset linked the 'intercepted' cargo with a certain occasion in October, which thrives on horror and its associated evil or diabolic manifestations.

HALLOWEEN. This word did feature in some reports. But for some reason, a cacophony of coastal superstitions, blended with purported satanism rituals, was combined with phantasmagoric gory images, to portray a non-existent cause for concern.

Not one media house thought it wise to first probe further. And it was only days after, that reports emerged of the rather obvious intention of the importer of the 'bizarre' or 'weird' cargo.

Almost predictably, it was much a do about a planned Halloween event, at an upmarket Nairobi mall.

For a few days there, the herd mentality of the local media shone through.

And truly, elements of media of mass misinformation, reigned supreme.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013


I'm a self-proclaimed vanquisher of any sighted journalism faux pas and media-malpractices. But in the process, I have created a dangerous facade of infallibility, misguided by my supposed years of professional experience and solid academic accomplishments. Which explains my horrendous mistake and the lessons for a media Mr. Know-It-All

True, nothing beats the altruistic quest to spur superior media coverage, through constructive criticism. The lofty feeling borne out of sharing and exchanging ideas, to help others grow and become better media practitioners, is undoubtedly an uplifting experience.

That somebody somewhere appreciates the 'editorial guidance' embedded in this blog, and finds it worthy of sharing it out in their individual circles, elevates my spirit to dizzying heights.

But unbeknownst to me perhaps, pointing out others' mistakes calls for an even greater responsibility on my part, to serve as a good example of being beyond the very reproach that I seek to castigate.

Human I am though, and erring I will.

However, despite my acceptance of the inevitability of my own mistakes 'exhaling', I still find it deeply shocking, and psychologically unsettling, (not to mention intellectually disenfranchising!), that I can entirely be to blame for even elementary errors in my place of work.

Such was the case recently, when in my exuberant zeal to showcase my 'superior' grasp of matters editorial, I ended up crafting a heinous graphical eye-sore, in tandem with Taban's lexicographicide.

And this was displayed on an international media platform! And noted with a reprimand, from a gatekeeper stationed thousands of kilometres away.

Repeat with me:

I will not assume my English language competence is above average. 

I will not stop refreshing my grasp of journalism skills and command of canonical media tenets, through copious intakes of relevant literature and audio visual tutorials.

I will strive to point out any noted language mishap but not from the pantheon of linguistic gurus, but from a position of equally learning from identified mistakes.

And finally...

I will forever remember there's only one 'S' in the word 'ASYLUM' not two, like the ass I was momentarily transformed into.

Thursday, 3 October 2013


The build-up was frenetic and the buzz around the anticipated comeback of a popular talk show host, left many Kenyans in a frenzy. The country after all, still yearns for answers, after the Westgate Mall siege. But, in the end, it confirmed the futility of smoking out state officials, even in a show that is smoking!

It has become increasingly clear that government officers are not interested in giving 'wholesome accounts' of what exactly happened, when terrorists attacked one of Nairobi's premier shopping outlets.

There are just too many versions of events, and variations of key facts being disseminated. And the more the media keeps prodding, the more the confusion that is generated.

Local media houses go to great lengths to try and secure 'exclusive' interviews with top authority figures, and in all honesty, great effort is also put into coming up with questions that matter.

But there just doesn't seem to be a sufficient will to divulge 'non classified' crucial information. Whether this is justified or not, is arguably debatable.

So by now, journalists should have realised the near-non existent possibility of milking coherent information from government big shots. Attempts to put the officials on the spot, only serves to spur more contradictions.

Instead, investigative desks in the various media houses should seize the opportunity and do their own undercover probes, cross-check with relevant multiple sources and piece together comprehensive reports about the deadly Westgate Mall attack.

Note, however, that this should neither be a race to unearth the most goriest of details and footage, nor an ill-advised sprint to divulge too much 'sensitive' information.

In other words, the findings should not be used to further compromise the safety of Kenyans, but should help the country deal with any gaps in its security structures.