In yet another indication of the mediocrity that seems to have taken permanent residence in some Kenyan newsrooms, a story with contradictory facts has safely made it to the pages of a leading daily. The end result is one story, in one newspaper, but carrying different facts.
It's understandable for a number of editors to seek to fine tune details of one story, at different stages in the production process. But there must not be more than one version of the final story, in the same paper.
That this happened in a newspaper from the stable of the largest publisher in this part of Africa, makes the error in editorial judgement even more monumental, if not perplexing.
The front-page teaser of this story about a violent matatu protest, states that a tout was allegedly killed by a police officer, in a row over fare.
On turning to page 22, for the full details of the story, the facts amazingly metamorphose, and the cause of the altercation between the police officer and the tout, is now attributed to a demand for a bribe.
Moreover, there's reference being made to a policeman, an unknown gunman, and even armed men, as 'allegedly' having been at the centre of the dispute that sparked the protest.
If the newspaper editors are not sure about the salient facts of a story, alleged or otherwise, (as indicated by the different versions published), how is the reader expected to believe any information contained in the same story?
No wonder it's so easy for people to say, "Don't believe what you read in the papers."