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, 27 April 2017


Headline writing is an art. The end product is so designed to attract attention to a story. Keywords to string together are cleverly selected, to grab the reader's interest at first glance, usually based on the condensed information being conveyed. Then there are those specially crafted headings that ooze aesthetics. 

One just can't help but marvel at the beautiful newsroom creation depicted above, from Kenya's only regional paper.

It doesn't look too contrived and in my opinion, serves such a rare treat of editorial brilliance.

Or maybe I'm just a sucker for thoughtful puns.

Either way, the remarkable effort by this headline writer ought to be applauded.

In this part of the world, such imaginative packaging of news content is hard to come by.

The default standard is often atrocious, clumsy or even nonsensical toplines.

There's need for more creativity in news writing. And that's the bottomline!

Friday, 21 April 2017


These are sensitive political times in Kenya. Movements and pronouncements by politicians are closely being watched. Information circulated by mainstream or social media is  also critical because details can be packaged to either augment or deflate the chances of election aspirants. The wrong combination of images and information can be quite a devastating media misdiagnosis.

The subject in the picture accompanying the link to the story above, closely resembles one of the most prominent opposition leaders in Kenya.

And the nature of the story is highly likely to generate an almost immediate motivation to click on the link, presumably by associating it with the image provided.

Is it a case of click-baiting?

Regardless, this would be in bad taste.

As to who is culpable here, it's quite a complex matter.

- This particular link was posted to Facebook by a social media user not the mainstream media outlet.

- The story itself is five years old.

- The webpage one lands in, via the provided link, bears no image at all.

- The details of the actual story pertain to a different person, whose picture would be nothing close to the one provided in the 'offensive' link.

The Internet may not remember who is responsible, but don't' forget you could be liable for what you post.

Thursday, 13 April 2017


Kenyan TV news has a remarkable penchant for drifting towards sensationalism, in the mistaken belief that what is shocking will always gel with the audience. It's a pity that a news story seeking to highlight the moral decadence in the society, can actively add to the decay of public morals.

There's need to first point out that what adults do in private is pretty much none of anyone else's business, including the prying eyes of the media.

So, this particular TV news story sought to address the issue of perversion among consenting and supposedly non-consenting adults.

But it went horribly wrong for family TV viewing, (in spite of the warning by the news reader introducing it), when the line of interviewing, (or cross-examination), went way beyond acceptable decency levels, from the overtly aggressive journalists.

And the dirty clincher was the airing of a video clip of not so child-friendly toys!

To serve what purpose I dare ask? Was this so critical in taking the story forward, and if so, shouldn't there have been blurring or soft-focusing of the damn gadgets?

What could be of concern to the public and authorities, is perhaps the co-opting of children in despicable acts that rob them of their innocence, though this seemed to have been of secondary importance in the story.

And that's how the Kenyan media can end up violating the same moral values it's trying to ensure the audience upholds.

Saturday, 8 April 2017


It was another office party, those that get triggered by the slightest indication that management was in the mood to recognize team effort. I was tasked with ensuring everyone has plenty of enjoyment. But one colleague seemed to be getting the most fun. She danced her heart out, radiating some form of inner joy. That is the Janet Kanini Ikua I was honoured to have interacted with.

She could burst some well coordinated moves, much to my amazement, momentarily unable to reconcile this display of vivacity with the disciplined and exceptional dedication to duty, when Janet was then a news anchor.

As the Weekends Editor, I tried to make the bulletins devoid of as much toxic Kenyan politics as possible, and instead ensured there was more time accorded to human interest stories, in line with the brief outlined by my seniors.

And Janet beautifully helped to deliver these soft stories in a powerful way.

I once crafted a challenging Intro for her, on a piece on poetry, admittedly thinking she would stumble on the rhyming scheme.

She cast my doubts away, as if dancing through the lines, and well aware of the need to retain the musicality, while saying:
Lynette was sent to the gent of the tent for the rent
But the gent of the tent had no rent for the tent for which Lynette was sent
Even as she battled her illness, she was gracious enough to respond to my call, when I was giving a lecture to some young students, and needed her input.

As I spoke to her,  the attentive class listened in, on our conversation.

There was a mixture of heartfelt empathy and admiration, when I revealed to the class what Janet had told me...

...That she was was at the hospital as we chatted, having just finished one of her cancer treatment sessions.

Every time I replay this talk in my mind, feelings of guilt engulf me.

But that was Janet for you, eager to be of service, no matter what she was going through personally.

So I choose to celebrate her life and the many lives she managed to touch, plus of course her dancing prowess.

Dance with the angels Janet Kanini Ikua!!!