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Wednesday, 27 January 2016


Headlines must ideally not over-promise the content of newspaper articles, when enticing readers to partake of the stories. But it does happen, especially when sensationalism is the preferred route to higher circulation figures. A headline, however, must never contradict the facts in the main story. Like it happened, in an increasingly misleading Kenyan leading daily.

The article's headline screams:
'Ours is public, not private land, says Del Monte'
But shortly afterwards, in the article's all important first paragraph, this is what one encounters:

Granted. The author of the newspaper article, and the one who crafted the headline, are not the same, and they probably didn't even meet before the article was published.

But there's good reason to believe there was an intermediary, or two (or three and beyond), in either the role of sub-editor or revise editor, (if not news or managing editor), and perchance, an editorial director.

And yet, glaring mistakes are frequently allowed to infuriate the sensibilities of readers.

So, just how easy is it, to confuse the meanings of private and public property, and more importantly, how easy is it to also confuse and annoy 'erudite' readers?

The 'misleading' leading daily was not done yet, on this unfortunate day for its esteemed consumers.

One of the inside stories alludes to some introductory section of an article being on Page 1.

Funny thing is, up to that point, I could not recall coming across such a story, having started reading the paper from the front page.

The sensible thing was to dart back to the main page of the newspaper, doubting I had missed something.

And guess what? There was no such story!

Seeing that I can't demand a refund, (I was reading the office newspaper), my humble appeal to the newspaper's publishers is to weather external pressures and hold on dearly to its refined editors.

Controversial editorials will come and go, but good editors should nevertheless be celebrated, not intimidated, vilified and crucified.

Thursday, 21 January 2016


One of Kenya's national broadcasters has partnered with tourism industry players, to promote the country's wild and natural beauty on TV. Showcasing the stunning scenery on prime time, can inspire the audience to appreciate it, and also market the destinations. But in the first episode, the spectacle was stale by a margin of...15 years! Viewers were hooked but also hoodwinked.

I pity the poor soul, who resolved to tour the highlighted attraction, in the hope of catching a glimpse of the wild animals shown on that TV programme, doing amazing things underwater.

You know, a lot can happen in 15 years... in the hippo calendar.

Hold on. Even for a human being, a lot can happen within one and a half decades.

15 years ago, where were you? I think I was still in Journalism school, harbouring lofty ideas about rescuing the local media scene from the jaws of irrelevancy. But I digress.

Back to the hyped hippie hippos, the camerawork in the documentary was indeed breathtaking, in the league of the legendary stuff from the National Geographic channels.

And I'm sure, as I have earlier hinted, a number of viewers secretly or loudly made a mental note to visit the magnificent Mzima Springs, to experience the natural wonders first-hand.

I did too, until my bubble burst wide open, as I keenly followed the credit roll, at the end of the TV show. One thing stood out:

Copyright MMI.

What! Were viewers being treated to a trip down hippo memory lane?

So, what are the chances of finding the showcased ecosystem intact, 15 years after the shooting of the documentary?

I felt cheated, conned, duped by an unabashed television fraud.

And to think how much energy was used to promote the programme, by both the station's staffers and external stakeholders.

The TV station could have considered dispatching a crew to Mzima Springs, and have links recorded from there, or even delivered live during the show, to make magical Kenya look more realistic than fictional.

That would have been more meaningful and impactful, unlike the social media hashtag frenzy, or the lazy amalgamated real-time online commentaries, while the show was on air, feigning self-adoration and spewing misguided adulation.

I know for a fact that the same broadcasting station has previously done at least one feature on Mzima Springs, not that long ago, and there was nothing that came close to what was screened.

Does that explained the felt need to grab something from international archives and regurgitate it locally, to better bait the viewers (and also the station's apparently mesmerised employees?)

Well, the wild intention is in the right place, but it should deliver interested viewers into a reachable wilderness, one that can still be savoured and treasured.

Thursday, 14 January 2016


Live TV comes with anxiety, tension, and unforeseen turn of events. However, local broadcast stations need to be alive to the fact that delivering a seamless show is not larger than life. Oh yes, you can take a break and eject an unruly studio guest. But oh no. When a TV presenter is down, the live show must not go on, especially not according to the usual script. 

In what must count as one of the most awkward moment on Kenyan live TV shows, a host hurt himself on air, and was writhing on the floor in pain.

But the co-presenter, (on the misadvice of the director/producer perhaps), set in motion the normal closing sequence of the show.

So, as her colleague was screaming his guts out, she started bidding the viewer goodbye, and at one point even clapped.


So what if, God forbid, the injury sustained by the other presenter was very serious?

(I'm not saying ending in death, but well, distantly implying it).

Would there have been any justification to continue with the show normally, if there was a grave (pardon the pun) situation on the set?

I doubt there was a viewer (with a heart), focusing on the presenter winding up the show.

Again. The quest to deliver a perfect live show is not a matter of life and death.

Do keep that point alive, show director/producer/floor manager!

Thursday, 7 January 2016


Winds blowing from a stinging editorial in Kenya's top newspaper, have swirled into a public storm. The publisher is trying hard to convince a sceptical audience that the paper's independence is not in jeopardy. But the reality suggests that even though the truth can be too hot to handle, infidelity against it truly burns.

Angry reactions have followed this attempt to sanitize an unpopular decision, which seem to even rile past and current senior staffers of the same media organization.

I...I am....well...I have this 'evil' feeling some sentiments, like those being expressed above are not entirely sincere.

Call me an over-analyser and give me a breathalyser...I just can't help but wonder about the possibility of the media group on the spot, deploying its 'social media monolith' to tenderize the harsh spotlight.

Rarely can one find strong opposition to a decision, so closely stitched with words like, 'To his credit...' strategically leading to the self-criticism-worshipping quote, and link to the big boss's rejoinder.

....I mean, it just appears too calculated, like the post is also intended to achieve a covert purpose.

What do you think...or can we safely conclude that I'm crazy?

Below are other reactions from a fired up social media space.