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.




Thursday, 26 January 2017


It is no longer desirable to ignore the demands of a digital media environment, and a demanding audience, wielding immense powers because of available options of content and channels. But this should not mean that the media should carelessly experiment in the hope of giving their audience a fresh experience. This can result in a busy TV screen and a multimedia strain.

Yes. It's good to tap into different media formats and either align the content with the best option or even use  a combination to create a multimedia product.

But no. You just don't put together any mashup, and deem it fit for audience consumption, like it happened with one Kenyan TV station.

As depicted above, the TV screen appeared to mirror a web page, probably in the hope of making it look savvy and edgy.

Actually, what was being beamed on air was an online article from another media's website, but with the additional eye strain of a talking head video, being aired live and literally boxed into webpage.

So in one go, your eyes are juggling between reading the headline of the article and the speaker's gesticulations as he makes his point, as well as the lower third information tags.

The ear too gets a piece of the action, trying heard to listen to what the subject is speaking, as the mind works hard to process all these elements, to make them different from nonsense.

Work with multimedia but desists from causing multiple eyes, ears and mental strain for your audience.

Thursday, 19 January 2017


A number of unions in Kenya have instructed their members to down their tools, in the wake of floundering negotiations with the government. The local media has tried to balance between highlighting the public's interest and the demands of the workers on strike. But some TV news graphics seem to be passing subliminal messages in solidarity with the strikes.

Is it a case of deliberate endorsement or an editorial oversight?

Who is being urged to 'Boycott lectures'?

Is it the audience?

Or is the on-screen graphics meant to pass a call to action message to those not aware of the industrial action?

The first look at the lower third information tag, and a second look at the visuals of striking workers, could possibly help rally support for more institutions to join in.

And not only can more lecturers be mobilized to join in the strike, university students can also be persuaded to abandon their classes.

So much for neutrality in news coverage.

So little of average gatekeeping.

Friday, 13 January 2017


It's an often asked question. Does language determine thought, or it's the thought process that influences language? For the media in Kenya, other languages often seem to dictate how ideas are expressed in English. And in the absence of an equivalent expression, the default is direct translations. 

A debatable case in point is the above cartoon strip.

Hypothetically speaking, the creative mind here (or the support editorial brains), could have had an internal monologue in a local dialect, and it made sense to say:

"I'm thirsty for tea"

This, by all means could be perfect English, but it sounds quite awkward both from the mouth and to the ear

The equivalent in, say Swahili, would be:

"Niko na kiu ya chai" or "Nahisi kiu ya chai",  depending on where one grew up.

What would work for me in this case is:

"I feel like taking tea."

But I'm not a teetotaler!

Friday, 6 January 2017


In times of rising political temperatures, some say the media should remain neutral. Others argue everyone is a political animal and that media owners and members of the press are better off declaring their political affiliations. It is foolhardy though, to purport to represent the views of an entire country. There's need to dash this myth of dashed hopes.

So, going by the front page scorcher above, just whose hopes were dashed?

I can't recall harbouring any expectations that in the end were not met, (I know many others probably did).

But that perhaps shows the media shouldn't generalise with such overzealous abandon, (unless it is a case of agenda setting with a hidden agenda).

After all, politicians in Kenya are more known for over promising and under delivering, at the highest cost to taxpayers.

In any case, those who support the ruling party/coalition are also Kenyans, and it is not hard to imagine they are jubilating!