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.




Sunday, 31 December 2017


It's often said that for one to succeed in any venture, one ought to isolate a problem or gap, and then provide a product or service to satisfy the identified need. That was the spirit that led to the starting of this platform. Nearly ten years later, a lot has changed. Whereas on the onset, there was little sustained media criticism in Kenya, hardly any error in the press now passes undetected.

There's now an ever vigilante army of online critics, never hesitant to call out the media, when coverage crosses the line, misses the line or even disrespects the line.

I wonder if it's time for me to do a reassessment, realignment or perhaps repurposing of my contributions?

Many are the times huge editorial blunders escape my attention or scrutiny, only for me to be delighted by a lively social media discussion on the same, with accompanying screenshots from TV, or offending newspaper content.

Well, it's tempting for me to say my work is done.

But after another fulfilling year, I'd rather press on and do my bit in keeping the press in check.

For how much longer?

Until there's no longer any room for improvement in our journalism.

Thank you for your continued support and do have an outstanding 2018!!!

Thursday, 21 December 2017


Results for Kenya's 2017 university entry national exam have been dominating the news agenda. The fascination has largely been on who between boys and girls performed better. But then came the tragic news of a girl committing suicide because of what she perceived to be a poor KCSE score. The coverage in one TV news channel though, had a rather strange cell phone number.

In stories that contain a plea for help, a contact number is usually provided and often displayed, to help raise finances, especially if the case is a very needy one.

However, in this tragic news coverage in this particular TV station, there was no mention of an appeal for help in resource mobilization.

And yet a mobile phone number was being frequently displayed on air.

The Big Question is, what exactly was the intention here?

Whose number was it that it had to be given its own prominent space on the lower third news tags?

Send your responses and we shall sample some of them at the tail end of this year.

Thursday, 14 December 2017


Sensible meaning should be at the heart of any communication. It's really pointless for the press to share meaningless information. That's why it's common practise to have different levels of proof reading and fact checking. It's utterly astounding therefore, when these editorial safeguards fail to prevent embarrassing errors.

If the information does not make sense to the writer or sub-editor, chances are very high the same will be true for the reader.

The highlighted paragraph in the article above reads:
An institution that hires an unregistered teacher is liable to a fine of not less than Sh100,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both.
The subject here is an institution. It's fine to say, '...is liable to a fine of not less than Sh100,000...'.

But it almost sounds absurd, when the article suggests that other than the fine, an offending institution can also be subjected to, '...imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years...'.

At times, all that is needed is re-reading the 'copy' or better still, reading the contents aloud.

This way, any lurking mistakes stand a good chance of being spotted and rectified, before a newspaper article gets published.

And this also applies also to those charged with crafting headlines.

To stay ahead in the news business, try and ensure readers don't lose their heads on account of your headlines.

Friday, 8 December 2017


Yes, it is refreshingly engaging. Yes, the conversations are somewhat hilarious. And yes, the discussion topics are relevant. But not so new faces. Not a new channel. And definitely not a so new TV morning show format. Have we seen the last of original program ideas in Kenya? There's a misconception that borrowed concepts offer immediate traction with the audience.

This perhaps explains why creativity appears beyond dead and buried.

I shuddered on hearing two presenters animatedly alluding to the fact that they had raised similar observations in another 'platform' (meaning another similar program on another channel).

Very few program producers seem daring enough to venture away from the beaten path.

So, what viewers have to contend with are recycled program formats, and even presenters on a regular cycle of channel hopping.

If indeed familiarity breeds contempt, the current breed of program producers need to defamiliarise themselves with the tried and tested options, for the benefit of the target audience.

Friday, 1 December 2017


Some media mistakes are unmistakable. However much you try to rationalise an editorial blunder, it still beats simple logic. And even if you successfully resist to pass judgement, it still remains a case of poor judgement. In many a Kenyan newsroom then, it appears there's a very dedicated error generator.

That perhaps is the only way to explain why armed with a set of clear facts and contextual information, a TV news station elects to feed the audience with utter nonsense!

A power generator goes missing in one of the counties. It is traced to a facility linked to a former governor of the same country.

But after a 'gallant' effort to condense these details, and craft a one liner story tag that would fit into the limited on screen space, the 'brilliant minds' at work bombard viewers with this textual horror:
Yes. There's a generator involved. A former governor is also a significant detail. And there's mention of a hotel in the story too.

Even in the bygone era of the telegraph, this error would not be tolerated.

Keywords are important in summarising information.

It's supremely key for the chosen words to communicate meaningfully.