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.




Tuesday, 31 December 2013


It's time to bid 2013 goodbye. On the Kenyan media terrain, the year has witnessed exemplary news coverage, as well as very rudimentary mistakes. It gratifyingly means there's been plenty of lessons learnt and shared. Here now are this site's most popular blog posts of 2013, in descending order.

- One Dress, Three News Presenters, Three TV Stations

- Apology Not Accepted! The On Air Error And The Naivety Terror

- A Refund Policy For Faulty Newspaper Content

- Of Live TV And Multi-Tasking, Multi-Talented Reporters

- From A Scribe To A Senator

- The Anatomy Of A High Voltage Story - Dismissing Or Defending Dismissal?

- Joint Media Production: It Shouldn't End With The Presidential Debate

- Urgent Media Audit Required After Westgate Coverage

- TV Interview, Cum Cross-Examination Cum Police Interrogation

- Discontent With The Content Of TV Morning Shows

I'm eternally grateful to everyone, who has found time to visit this blog. The interaction has been amazing and the feedback most valuable in improving the site and its content.

May blessings, good tidings and all the fulfilment you desire come to pass in 2014!

Friday, 27 December 2013


It's been a digital migration process dogged with many vested interests, (some so well hidden). It is not in dispute that the shift is inevitable. But Kenya's state of preparedness has been called into question. But so have the motivations behind the push by leading media houses to delay the process. It does however, look like the epilogue of analogue transmission is on course.

And the first phase has just started, with non-digital TV sets, and those not hooked up to a set-top box, officially going blank in Nairobi and its environs.

The arguments of whether or not the set-top devices are affordable to the majority of Kenyans, could be valid, after all, just getting by these days, requires an economical miracle for many people.

But what must not be conveniently forgotten, is that a television set is a luxury item, not a basic necessity.

And it almost goes without saying that those in a position to buy one, will almost certainly not struggle much, in order to purchase an additional gadget, for them to continue accessing broadcast programming.

This is what conversations in social media circles strongly indicate. Chances are high that some of the sentiments captured below, approximate the true feeling on the ground, about this digital migration matter.

NB: The Kenyan Court of Appeal has temporarily halted the digital migration, ordering that analogue broadcasting in Nairobi and its environs to be reinstated for 45 days, pending the determination of an appeal by three leading media houses.

Thursday, 19 December 2013


It might be a case of unnecessarily splitting hairs. But the homogeneity in sourcing, packaging and delivery of news in Kenyan TV stations has entered a new phase. News presenters across various channels are now either sharing the same clothes, or are using the same stylist or stockist.

The same way the copy-cat syndrome is rampant, especially in the electronic media terrain, where one idea is quickly 'duplicated' across news stations, is perhaps what is happening to this particular outfit.

Indeed it is not unheard of, for a particular news story aired by one channel, to somehow be 'reincarnated' in another, (without even crediting the original source of the idea).

But in this case, the question of which news presenter was the first to don the outfit, and who then pinched the 'fashion statement' is unclear.

Incredibly, the 'popular' apparel design appeared on screen simultaneously in two channels, because two news presenters had it on the same day and time!

And so, it not improbable for two media outlets to at times be working on the same idea and labelling it as 'exclusive. A bemused audience will be forgiven for wondering whether the real meaning of 'exclusivity' is being appreciated and applied by the competing stations.

Back to the dressing style though, it later on re-emerged in yet another TV station. This, an indicator perhaps, of one, how the culture of recycling has taken root in the Kenyan media space, and two, how nobody at times seems to be monitoring what the competitor has already put out.

And that's how one similar dress can end up with three news presenters in three different TV stations!

Friday, 13 December 2013


The TV depiction of how Kenya's political landscape evolved through different reins of its presidents, is outstanding. Getting first hand accounts from a multiplicity of direct participants in the historical process, also borders on the genius. But is the end product a mere newsroom version of Kenya's history?

No doubt a lot of effort was put in producing Moi, Mwai and Muigai. And the mostly appreciative feedback, especially from the social media, is perhaps indicative of the documentary having resonated well with the audience.

However, I think it's still valid to question whether the series can pass the test of factual representation of Kenya's history. Extensive research through archival material, still runs the risk of repeating any hitherto uncorrected elements.

Yes. A number of sources were used. But No. Their views were not subjected to a robust interrogation mechanism, to ascertain their authenticity, (behind the scenes cross-checking does not count here).

For example, how can the veracity of the accounts about meetings at State House with former president Moi, be established? Should we take it as gospel truth that indeed Moi was being 'lied' to by some sycophants that as he spoke, a halo-like lighting effect seemed to surround him?

And should the description of how Kenya's current Deputy President started off in politics, (an errand boy?), be taken with a pinch of salt?

What about the circumstances surrounding the death and succession battles of Kenya's first president, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta?

The intrigues have been regurgitated ad nauseam. So what 'aha' moment was realized, from watching the 'informative' series? (especially to those over 30 years).

A valuable missing ingredient, in my humble opinion, was some intellectual interpretation from a historical mind, to either corroborate, correlate or conjugate the anecdotal accounts of the numerous talking heads.

In other words, the narrator's voice could have been interspersed with expert views, from those well-versed with Kenya's historical development, to infuse some well grounded analysis, in an otherwise brilliant piece of journalism.

And then, there would have been no distinction between that 'newsroom version of Kenya's history' and the probable verifiable version.

Friday, 6 December 2013


Nelson Mandela has left the world a much, much better place than he found it. And that is the essence of humanity. He exhibited such a refined sense of selflessness, with exemplary sacrifice to the entire human race. May his legacy endure till the ends of time. Rest in Peace Madiba.