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, 25 May 2016


Political agitations can lead to a better life. And the sacrifices made should never be trivialised. But life is universally precious. Property too is valuable, but life is priceless. That's why media coverage of violent protests in Kenya requires proper contextualization, not just mere reportage. It's a matter of life and death for some, not just a political contest, or filler for TV programming.

The press needs to rise above partisan politics and help steer the country through this turbulent period.

Yes. There's need for the media to capture unfolding events as chroniclers of history.

But to be on the right side of that history, no effort should be spared in ensuring the country emerges stronger from any political crisis.

Scrambling to tell 'sob' stories after families have lost their loved ones, is a mockery of the inherent power of the media to help prevent such tragedies in the first place.

Must the country be on the very brink for those front-page editorials and 'We Are One' identical headlines to find justification?

It's better to do the precautionary math beforehand, than having to deal with the painful aftermath.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016


As a market place of ideas, the media is a carrier of a multiplicity of story elements. That's why it's healthy to see divergent interpretations of the aftermath of recent riots in the Kenyan capital. But some things like police brutality have only one ugly face, despite the different phases of media coverage.

Dead or alive, brown shoes or black shoes, Kiambu or Kisii counties, going for an interview or participating in a political protest, stone in the back pocket or whacks on the back, Cord hooligan or Jubilee impostor...etc, can be the subject of endless debates.

So, the media ought to be careful, lest it unwittingly becomes a vehicle of propagating full lies, half truths, or quartered conjectures.

And there's a big chance that media coverage of the anti-IEBC protests will go through different phases.

However, the ugly face of police brutality needs to be condemned in unison and never condoned even in the guise of law enforcement.

This point comes out clearly from the social media uproar sparked by the behaviour of anti-riot police.

Thursday, 12 May 2016


A public editor of a Kenyan newspaper, recently posited that during a paper's production process, an innocuous lapse in concentration can result in a major editorial gaffe being published. The state of mind (and eyes) of the production crew is thus quite critical.  It is unbelieavable how some obvious errors get to see the light of day. Sub-editing can indeed be killed until it's dead.

An article in the country's leading daily, has raised the bar in English use ingenuity, or is it stretching human comprehension?

The tragic story from Iraq speaks of a substantial number of people killed in a series of car bombs.

They sadly died and no amount of emphasis can augment our appreciation of this fact...that they are no longer alive.

But the headline writer insists on saying: 
"94 killed dead in triple Baghdad car bombings"
In other words, there is an implied possibility of people being killed, without necessarily dying!

May such sub-editing be killed until it's dead.

And may it rest in pieces!

Wednesday, 11 May 2016


Not so long ago, Kenyan journalists had little chance of getting an assignment in a foreign country entirely financed by their employer. Media companies even killed some stories that required local travel. International trips were mostly facilitated by corporate entities. There is a big chance of the resultant news story failing the neutrality test.  So, corporates one, Kenyan sports journalists nil, audiences lose.

The immediately perceived or active danger, when support to cover a story is externally sourced, is that the integrity of the coverage may get compromised from the onset, since any sniff of negativity is likely to be consciously or subliminally snuffed out.

Their seems to be a persistent sense of indebtedness to the benefactor, and with it, comes the neglect to be critical of any observed shortcomings, in the past, presently and even in the future.

And that's the buy-in for the sponsor!

It is for a good reason that some media houses have gone to the extent of expressly forbidding their journalists from receiving gifts from newsmakers, or even accepting practical facilitation like getting a lift from a politician, to get to a venue.

But let's be real. Hardly any newsroom is immune to the allure of press junkets.

That said, there needs to be some semblance of even subtle attempts to remain independent.

Splashing praise-song-hero-worshipping-court-poetic-spoken-word-thank-you-note dropping articles all over the sports pages...is outrightly selling out.

The next time you try to sell a sports story about your 'honorary patron' the reader may not buy the spin.

Corporates One...Kenyan Sports Journalists Nil...Audiences Lose!

Thursday, 5 May 2016


There appears to be a deficiency of accomplished Kenyan media scholars, to steer the industry forward, by providing research-based solutions to emerging challenges. Those who appear on local press review TV shows seem to be terribly wanting. They generally are devoid of original thought, but excel in advancing pedestrian, if not inferior interpretations of obtaining issues.

I painstakingly try to follow the panel discussing the state of Kenyan journalism, in one of the local channels.

The journalist and communications consultant are vibrant in their assessment, and articulate their views passionately, with believable conviction.

But when it comes to the turn of the media scholar, the contribution tends more towards the obviously simplistic, and annoyingly commonplace observations.

And it's not helped by opening statements such as, "I like what so and so said."

In actual fact, the other panelists appear to be more knowledgeable than the PhD holder.

A doctorate is earned by contributing to the existing body of knowledge, I would want to believe.

So, I ask, where is the original contribution, or relevant theoretical frameworks, when media academics dissect pertinent matters affecting the Kenyan media sector?

Just how much research is done on Kenyan media? How many books are published annually? Do papers presented in local journalism fora end up in revered journals?

You often hear laments about the quality of journalism training in Kenya, and the lack of facilities or or proper equipment.

The calibre of media trainers is no doubt also a major contributor of the inadequacies permeating through Kenyan newsrooms.

Eradicating the rot will depend a lot on those at the top!