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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!


Kiplimo Lagat said...

I also watched the Very particular show and I have divergent feedback... What is wrong by the so called PhD holder agreeing with the rest on validated issues... Must we always disagree to show that we are more knowledgeable?
Even though the media training needs to be discussed on such a forum... We can't just generalize opinions

Kiplimo Lagat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Albert Gachiri said...

Your divergent feedback is quite welcomed. There's nothing wrong, indeed, if one agrees with what the other panelists are saying. But a PhD holder is expected to exhibit at least a more refined approach, due to their presumed elevated knowledge base. I'm more perturbed by the 'chronic' lack of a semblance of original or unique standpoints. And even where there is none, references to scholarly work or authorities on the subject under discussion can be made to enrich the debate. And please note, this is not a personal attack on an individual.

William said...

It is clear that Albert Gachiri is not impartial in his argument,at what point does the subject matter change from "media freedom in Kenya" to PhD? In any debate agreement or otherwise must be accommodated for progressive thinking,to question an academic standard is unfortunate given the process one goes through attain the same, how we all wish we were professors, never the less it would be more gratifying to use such platforms to progress impartial contributions that would enhance mature and productive debate rather that question what has been tested and verified

Wambui said...

This is sheer male chauvinism, no argument to take home...... We work hard to attain academic standards like the lady in question, congrats lady for attaining the PhD that is rolling heads, keep it up prof in waiting

Albert Gachiri said...

Like I said earlier, this is not an assessment of an individual's academic abilities par se, but a critique of their performance in a media review TV show. It is a reflection perhaps of the nature of training journalists receive locally, and therein lies my main concern.

Albert Gachiri said...

Of course I have not taken a neutral position. I am pointing out short-comings as I see them. The main subject matter is neither 'media freedom in Kenya' nor a 'PhD' qualification, let alone questioning academic standards that have been 'tested and verified'. It is the performance of a panelist in a press review TV show. Another time she was asked what was wrong with a controversial picture used by one of the local dailies, and all she could say was, 'I don't like it.'...Because...why...? We all wish we were professors (really?), but we certainly don't all wish we can appear on TV to display our intelligence, or lack thereof.

Sylvia said...


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