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, 28 September 2017


Newspapers aspire to be above impeccable, when it comes to how they deploy information in their chosen language. And yet there are many instances that the same papers abandon conventional language rules. Those who craft headlines especially, often get away with blatant disregard of grammatical requirements. And this can lead to a dead end.

The headline writer is hard pressed to make the optimal use of newspaper space.

Brevity then carries a premium value.

And so it's no surprise to see headlines lacking grammatical elements like articles, which are deemed to have the undesirable effect of making the top lines lose their punch.

However, the underlying need of the headlines to communicate in a meaningful manner, remains ever important.

That's why the headline for the above newspaper article looks absurd.

Goes to show one should never underestimate the power of the diminutive form of the verb 'to be'.

Is that clear?

Thursday, 21 September 2017


Kenya's 2017 electioneering period continues. The date for the repeat presidential poll has been revised. This comes hot on the heels of the country's highest court giving full details of its decision to annul the initial presidential election. The local media coverage though, suggests the press is partisan on these political and judicial developments.

It's often stated that facts are sacred. And yet it has not escaped the notice of many that in some instances, the press appears undecided as to what exactly is factual.

The audience is thus confronted with variations in coverage, which raises suspicion about the media's accuracy and credibility, especially if a single event is accorded almost contradictory interpretations.

Granted, and as it has previously been pointed out here, product differentiation works better for competing newspapers, which means not putting the same content in front of the buying reader.

However, one would expect legal matters, especially pronouncements by high ranking judicial officers, would be reported with little or no variances.

Unless, marketing...nay...political allegiance also informs the coverage by the Kenyan media.

Thursday, 14 September 2017


Putting together a newspaper is not an easy task, That's why a competent team is tasked with producing the publication. A lot of machinery and automation is involved. But humans retain control of these processes. Which perhaps explains the frequent typos, errors and editorial terrors in Kenyan dailies.

The shocking part though is that some of the mistakes are so elementary.

In the example above, it appears the paper's gatekeepers are not familiar with the correct spelling of the relevant day of the week.

And the fact that there's a team supposed to ensure high standards, before the paper is published, suggests that attention to details is not one of the strong points here.

A reader can rightfully question whether the publisher should be trusted with handling facts, if spelling of common words is a challenge.

Yes. Even a small error can be a big terror!

Monday, 4 September 2017


The next chapter of Kenya's political transition is about to be written, with the announcement of the date for a fresh presidential election, after the Supreme Court invalidated the previous one. The focus once again is on the electoral commission. And the local media too, will be closely watched. Screaming headlines with laughable substance continue to be of concern.

At first glance, the front page story of the above publication shouts at potential readers/buyers that internal changes are in the offing at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries and Commission.

And this, the paper proclaims prominently, is on the authority of the IEBC chairman.

Quite a juicy story one would think.

But on turning to the article, there is no reference to the IEBC chairman as promised in the headline, with regards to the 'purge' at the electoral body.

The suggested changes are actually attributed to the opposition coalition!

 A paragraph in the article also seems to contradict the headline.

 The senior official that the IEBC chairman allegedly wants to exit the polls body, is the very same one that the same story says will lead the re-organization.

 Was this a ploy to sell the paper?

Was it a deliberate act to mislead readers?

Is this even ethical or legally acceptable?

This needless name-dropping should be dropped.