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.




Friday, 28 December 2018


It's always pleasant to see fresh talent coming through the Kenyan TV news scene. It's an apt assurance that the fine craft of journalism will have continuity. What's coming through could range from raw brilliance to refined resilience on the training curve. But if it's written Maina, and looks like Maina, it's very likely not supposed to be pronounced 'Meina', lest you awaken a minor fault maniac.

The story depicted above was delivered in an unusual yet delightful way, away from the pattern of visuals, soundbites, natural sounds, sign-off, prevalent across many local TV news channels.

Unfortunately, what stood out for this particular 'minor fault maniac' is the feeble attempt to anglicise the local name of the key subject in the story.

The folly of perhaps wanting to sound sophisticated falls apart on the alter of inconsistency.

The reporter strives to maintain the 'Meina' reference but on more than one occasion, the 'unsouped up' version comes through as the common 'Maina'.

It's good to aspire to be different, but being authentic is often good enough.

Friday, 21 December 2018


In stage plays, the dramatists are often implored to avoid showing their back to the audience. The state of emotions emanate from the face, it appears, so the need to constantly face the audience. In theatre, inexperienced performers have to rehearse proper turning movements. TV news directors should incorporate this practise, to keep some things away from the camera eye and the viewer.

TV being a visual medium, the eyes pick up details remarkably very well, especially anything unusual on the news presenter.

That partly explains why many broadcasting stations enlist the services of a make-up artist, tasked with 'polishing' up the presenters.

But some things cannot be 'hidden' from a viewer, using even the most powerful of of make-up, and so should be carefully kept away from the camera eye.

Is there no other place female presenters can fasten their wireless mic gadgets?

The audience need not be distracted from partaking of the content, by irregular configurations on the back of news presenters.

Back to you!

Friday, 14 December 2018


To astonish readers is to attract and possibly command their interest, even if for a fleeting moment. And that's why the media happily pick on superlatives and words that are designed to hype a story. This runs the risk of sometimes distorting the reality, but it seems the dividend of locking in the audience, is a valuable payoff. So editorial scraps can easily translate to newspaper skyscrapers.

In the article above, a reader is likely to be drawn in by the headline, which creates the impression that a very high-rise building is being put up.

The average person is bound to be interested by extra-ordinary things and a skyscraper adequately fits the bill of being nothing short of a visual spectacle, for many people.

The expectation is thus heightened only to be followed by a spectacular deflation.

The building in question, it soon emerges, is a mere eleven floors high!

Sure...It's a skyscraper...For Lilliputians!

Friday, 7 December 2018


A lot of gender mainstreaming agitation has been witnessed in Kenya, especially with regards to leadership and political representation. And both the social and mainstream media have played a key role in fighting gender-based marginalisation. This noble agenda, however, is at times undermined by the same press. Is a male lawyer any different from a female lawyer?

In the article above, the story celebrates the achievements of a high flying Kenyan lawyer.

But the editor, (try putting female editor here), finds it appropriate to describe the lawyer as being female!

It should rather be obvious that it's really unnecessary to ascribe gender identities for certain professions like law.

The reader can easily establish that the lawyer is a woman because of the provided name and picture.

So, to expressly state that the lawyer is female at the very beginning is demeaning, condescending and even a disregard for the many achievements of women in various professions.

Top Kenyan lawyer...Good!

Senior female Kenyan lawyer...Goof!

Friday, 30 November 2018


News reports aim to truthfully convey information in a fair and balanced manner. It may appear like a simple task, but other factors often complicate the processing of facts. The audience is assumed to be in need of protection from harmful news, yet the media presumes the right to know also needs to be protected. Some reports though, need a thorough panel beating.

In the article above, the details in the all-important first paragraph 'correctly' summarise the most important facts of the story.

- A family in a given locality

- Exhumed the body of their son

- Their son had been buried for three years

- They wanted to confirm that he was dead

Every thing checks out in the journalistic manual of packaging news reports, except the last bit.

A reputable newspaper of record in Kenya, wants readers to believe there's logic in seeking to ascertain somebody is really dead, three years after they were buried!

Never mind the story revolves around superstitious beliefs.

Ignore the fact that a legal process is necessary before permission is granted to exhume a body.

Concentrate a bit more on the story being very unusual and deserving of media coverage.

Does one disturbing element hit you from the underworld?

I got two blows from the story...namely... Spooky and Spurious!

Saturday, 24 November 2018


Information shared with a 'Breaking News' tag grabs immediate attention, either because of it's significance, and/or the fact that what's being reported has just happened. It's thus a great way for a news outlet to showcase its ability to dispenses the very latest information. A key consideration, however, should be the relevance of the breaking news to the wider audience.

In the case above, it could be of interest to some that there's a change of editorial guard at the 'largest ' media entity in the East and Central African region.

But does this make the development suitable to be shared as breaking news? (Or with a breaking news handle?).

It's unmistakable that the source of the news was internal, so there's zero possibility of another media house getting the information out first, (now that would be a real breaking news, right?).

So, of what interest is this information to the general public?

At the very most, I think this implied change could easily have been sufficiently shared as 'normal' news, without the added sense of urgency, or heightened public interest significance.

And at the very least, this information could also pass for an internal consumption notice.

But the fact that this media establishment is a publicly-listed company, could perhaps make the management change acquire another level of importance, which requires transparency.

Therein lies the untold story!

Saturday, 17 November 2018


Journalism has been battling many challenges over the centuries. Some strategies call for a little rethinking of the business model. Others require radical shifts. Some internal and external shocks can also be safely ignored. But not when the jobs of news producers, presenters, or video editors could be on the line.

In a remarkable indication of how disruptive technology can be, machine generated content could now favourably compete with professionally and user generated content.

The news reader above looks and sounds like any other person answering to that kind of job description.

But he is not real!

It's all about computer algorithms and its associated programing techniques

And efficiency here, is the key word.

Say there is breaking news or a significant news event that needs to be urgently broadcast.

It will not be so strange to hear of how some Kenyan newsrooms almost go into panic mode, frantically looking for talent to go on air with the news.

Actually, that is how some careers in news anchoring start: Being available at that critical moment and dressed for the part of rescuing the station from losing audiences, or even revenue.

That's why the computer-generated virtual presenter could be a useful addition-always ready to work 24/7.

Some critics say these 'mechanical' presenters lack the human touch that is critical in making an emotional connection with the audience.

But I'm sure there are those who feel that's how news should be delivered, devoid of any 'sideshows' popular in many Kenyan news channels.

Using powerful algorithms, it's now also possible to have computer-edited video content from a significant event,  containing a summary of key information, which the virtual presenter can broadcast.

Unbelievably, this can be done in a matter of minutes after the event!

So for those thinking of a career in news production, presentation and video editing, now's the time to get familiar with the concepts of Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality and the Internet of Things.

Saturday, 10 November 2018


The media is the watchdog of the society no doubt. But the 4th estate is also part of the same society. Whereas journalists are tasked with the critical role of holding those in authority to account, they should never lose sight of the fact that this is done in the best interest of the public. In other words, the media and the state must essentially belong to the same team that's seeking to improve the welfare of society.

It therefore makes a lot of sense to have the state facilitating the workings of the media, not so much that this will give it a valuable mouthpiece as an ally, but more so because only then can it strengthen one its most critical link to the public.

It's no wonder then that some countries go a long way in ensuring there's adequate support and investment in the media or information, communication and technology sector.

However, the media must in turn discharge its duties in an ethical, factual, balanced and professional manner.

This will then likely lead to better service delivery to the public.

It's not always guaranteed that the relationship between the state and the media will be cordial, but that's no reason for one or both sides to permanently be on attack mode.

The test of a functioning state and media relationship is how well the public feels its interest is the overriding factor!

Wednesday, 31 October 2018


You never can tell if it's going to be the last time to see someone alive. And neither can other people be certain they will get a chance to see you again. It's a very high stake gamble. Hence  the need to be extremely thankful for every moment spent with family, friends and colleagues. It's hard to believe that Prof. Chris Lukorito Wanjala is no longer with us.

Painful as this reality is, I will always remain grateful for the opportunity to host the late literature don in my house, shortly before his demise.

Prior to this glorious get together, I had extended an invitation to other people privileged to have interacted with the literary critic par excellence, in the course of our university education.

Unbeknownst to many of those invited, this could have been a a final and befitting opportunity to show their appreciation to the man who played such a key role in shaping their various careers.

We had a wonderful time with the few who made it for this meet-up.

It was such a joy to hear him say how happy and fulfilled he felt, and how proud he was of our 'little' achievements, so far.

Unbelievably, Prof. breathed his last less than three months after the meeting in my house.

He was instrumental in helping me secure an internship at the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, which was the foundation for any of my accomplishments in TV news reporting and production.

Prof. Wanjala also helped me to secure a scholarship to advance my studies in the UK.

As a literature major student, Prof. Wanjala had broadened my world view, as if aware how critical being a global citizen would be, later in my career.

I fondly remember how he introduced me to Japanese Literature, through the works of Daisaku Ikeda, and especially how astonished I was by the testimonials from survivors of the atomic bombing, during World War Two.

What I read in the books provided by Prof. Wanjala, was to later spectacularly deliver an even more shocking blow, when I had an opportunity to visit Hiroshima, in Japan, and take a tour at the Peace Museum, where the horrors of the American bombing shake the very core of your consciousness.

And even the semblance of media criticism exhibited on this platform, was moulded from drinking copiously from his cup of immense knowledge, during his memorable lectures.

Away from classwork, Prof. encouraged us to explore our creative abilities and unleash our performance talents on stage.

He also acted like a moral guardian, ensuring we don't stray too far, driven by our 'juvenile' dare-devil approaches to life.

Together with my very close friend, we once tried to get him to join us for a drink, hoping he would equally 'facilitate' the flow of alcohol.

His remarkable response?

"I neither partake...nor purchase!"

Till we meet again Prof. You are proof enough that angels live among us!

Thursday, 25 October 2018


A lot of  effort is invested in ensuring what is published in a newspaper is beyond any editorial reproach. This approach, however, may be far removed from the end product of many Kenyan publications. Frequently, the quality falls short of the readers' expectations. 

It may sound unrealistic to demand that newspapers should be certified to be error-free, before they reach the newsstands.

But some mistakes really can wind a reader up.

The last sentence in the newspaper article above is a toxic mix of concentrated hogwash!

What in the world of hocus bonkers is this?
Interior CS Fred Matiang; i has intervened.
i has giving up!

Thursday, 18 October 2018


A primary roles of the media is to inform. The audience expects to either learn something useful or be enlightened about somebody or something significant. This does not imply that the average member of the audience is not well-informed. And neither is he or she all-knowing. On first mention of key details, the assumption should therefore never be that the information is obvious.

In the newspaper article above, the reader is likely to be flying rudderless, simply because there's no editorial support to aid in the contexualization of the details, and hence the understanding of the news story.

The intro talks about 'Members of the Country Assembly'...and inconveniently neglects to mention the particular county in question.

If Kenya has 47 counties, how is the reader expected to zero in on the one the editor is referring to?

There are names being thrown around like all the readers are all well-acquainted with the personalities being mentioned.

These may well be public figures, but the paper should not assume they are well-known by the public.

Friday, 12 October 2018


The media often enlightens the audience about subjects or issues that were hitherto unfamiliar. Publications that ply their trade in English can be particularly useful to learners of the language. But the lesson can at times be hard to grasp, if it's assumed that the meaning will be apparent to everyone. You can't take heart that the deal will be sweet.

In the above article, reference is made to a 'sweethearts deal' in the headline.

An average reader is likely to be perplexed because 'sweetheart' is a common endearment term, that oozes heavy romantic undertones.

There are two parties in this case alright, but one is an institution...the one that employs teachers in Kenya...and the other is a top representative from the teachers' labour union.

A stranded reader may as well be left wondering what a 'sweetheart deal' is all about in this context.

Well, the paper is correct in the sense that this is an acceptable expression, meaning a sort of favourable agreement.

But it's dead wrong to use search a term, without giving proper contextualisation, to enable the reader to derive the right communicative value from it.

Deal with this doubt sweetheart!

Wednesday, 3 October 2018


It's been argued that the media's penchant to broadcast or publish negative stories can lead to emotional or psychological trauma on the audience. The sad news may be factual, but does it distort the reality? That could be the case, especially when the media appears to threaten the very existence of society. A morbid headline promoting child mortality is a sure way of killing humanity.

In the above newspaper article, very critical elements of journalism are missing...and that gives the headline quite a chilling effect.

Even a casual glance at that headline, is likely to deliver a guaranteed repulsive reaction.

And that is only if the reader can survive the shock of the unintended repugnant message.

The elementary attributes of a news story missing in this abhorrent headline are CONTEXT, and...well...ATTRIBUTION!

There's a barely there indication that the headline is drawn from a conclusion of a study.

However, in the absence of a direct link of the findings of the study and the article's headline, one is left with little choice than to think the newspaper has no problem with anyone calling on mothers to kill their children.

Moreover, it's only in the first paragraph that one gets to understand the context of the story...that it has to do with children born with disability, and their parents being pressured to kill them.

These reckless omissions by the editor make the headline morbid, and its details sordid!

Wednesday, 26 September 2018


Skills in enterprise reporting are welcomed in the newsroom. But is the world always going to provide interesting stories that journalists can continue to uncover, discover and cover? Highly unlikely. Inevitably, some stories will be recycled, even under the guise of making follow-ups. But the audience can easily see through regurgitated features disguised as new ones.

If a TV channel heavily promotes an upcoming feature, it builds anticipation and expectation that the story is worth making a viewing appointment.

Even if it's a familiar 'special' feature being hyped, one is hopeful of watching a fresh insight, perhaps a new angle even, or the latest developments in a story that's being retold.

However, in this particular instance, there was little to show that an attempt was made to add to the existing level of awareness about the story.

One gets a sneaky sense that the reporter deliberately chose to try and obliterate any acknowledgement that what was being served was a not so tasty dish of televised deja vu.

This, needless to say, was as futile as it was foolhardy.

Truth be told, this is a story that has previously been featured by both local and international media, from as early as 2010, as captured here.

Behold, however, this late 2018 version was largely centred on the same central 'fact' that the language spoken by the Yaaku community was on the verge of extinction.

The one loosely substantiated 'new' fact was that only three fluent speakers of the Yakunte language remained, (down from 7 in 2010?).

Maybe the media should consider borrowing the principle of specifically adding to the existing body of knowledge, before publishing, which is a key cornerstone in the world of academia.

If a story has already been covered, then it would be a requirement that reference is made to what has already been produced, even if by rival media entities, so that emphasis is strictly put on value addition, for the benefit of the audience.

And a bibliography also won't hurt, (just kidding!).

Wednesday, 19 September 2018


The easiest way to identify people covered in the media is to use their names.  To help the audience understand more about the subjects, additional attributes are added, like job titles. This can also provide the context within which reference is being made to a person. But some descriptions add little value. 

What exactly does a city lawyer do that is different from other lawyers?

The headline for this newspaper article, appears to be making such a distinction.

In the same spirit, would the paper be inclined to identify somebody as a village lawyer?

It can be simplistically argued that if one's law firm is based in a city, then one can be referred to as a city lawyer.

But for arguments sake even, which particular city is the story referring to?

Or are we to 'appreciate' that adding the tag city to something, or somebody for this matter, adds prestige, authority, recognition or an extra sense of accomplishment?

The second paragraph describes the same lawyer as being flamboyant, which perhaps correctly reflects his attention-grabbing lifestyle.

A city lawyer title, though, is nothing short of a forced newspaper flamboyance.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018


The cost of living in Kenya, it is now widely feared, might be about to get dangerously close to being unbearable. And the local media has been firmly locked on highlighting this issue, as the country awaits a decision by the president on a critical piece of legislation. But this pressing matter it appears, is now even confounding the press. The result is 100% value added inaccuracy.

After consistently reporting on the merits and demerits of the president assenting to the Finance Bill 2018, it's a bit surprising to see an article in the mainstream media that is seemingly out of touch with the basics of this major story.

This in turn could easily leave the reader as 'confused' as the said newspaper.

To begin with, does anyone have a clue as to what exactly the 'VAT Bill' captured in the above headline is referring to?

There has been widespread coverage of the calls to shield citizens from high fuel prices, courtesy of a 16% Value Added Tax on petroleum products that came into effect at the beginning of September.

Pressure has thus been mounting on the president to assent to the Finance Bill, which has a clause suspending the implementation of the VAT on fuel.

Then suddenly, this article audaciously turns the facts around!

My head is still spinning from this spin-off.

Friday, 7 September 2018


If the work of journalists was to simply report what newsmakers say, then it would be very difficult for the audience to distinguish between fact and opinion. The media's role should revolve around adding value to expressed views, not simply relaying utterances or public pronouncements.

It is quite disappointing that comments made by Kenya's deputy president, with potentially serious implications on the earnings of a certain cadre of workers, were not subjected to an equally serious interrogation, before being published.

The main argument being advanced is that the monthly contributions to a national health fund should be much higher than they currently are, for those earning higher salaries.

On the face of it, it sounds like a sensible suggestion....but the reasoning behind it...is worthy of at least a counter-argument.

I can't help but wonder why it doesn't seem to count that the higher income-earners already shoulder a weightier tax burden.

And probably due to shortcomings in the public health system, this same group has people paying for expensive private medical insurance covers, to access better quality healthcare.

Shouldn't the government be challenged to first improve public health facilities and ensure taxes are properly utilised, before calling for higher contributions to the national health fund?

Would there even be the need for private medical cover, if public medical facilities offered superior services?

These are some of the issues the media should have picked on, and including the voices of experts, to enable the audience to have a clearer perspective and wider context of this call to increase health fund contributions.

But I guess that would deny the Kenyan media it's 'favourite' pastime of reporting 'he said-she said-they-said' which actually doesn't say much to the audience.

Saturday, 1 September 2018


If one tunes into a TV station in Kenya, one's mind can easily wander off from the substance of the content. A major driver of this phenomenon is the distraction that news or program presenters create. The over-emphasis on physical attributes of the on-air talent is often believed to be responsible for this concentration lapse. And then there's the spiritual spectacle.

These particular presenters begin their show with an 'animated' prayer.

There's probably nothing wrong with this set-up on set.

And it might actually not upset any of the channel's viewers.

I just find it odd...that's all.

The viewer might expect content that travels through the narrow path of piety, or that which is broadly centred on religiosity.

Fortunately...or unfortunately...that's not always the case!

Thursday, 23 August 2018


Information channelled through the media needs to be unambiguous, if it's to be useful to the audience. The challenge though, can come by way of using a not so straight-forward language like English. And the press in Kenya appears to be prone to linguistic shortcomings, which at times result in vague headlines or even doubtful information.

The heading of the above editorial can leave the reader a bit confused because though it may not be apparent, the chosen words make it open to two interpretations.

Crafting headlines is an endeavour that seeks to maximise the impact of chosen words, sometimes against minimal use of available space.

It thus becomes very necessary to leave out 'empty' words like determiners or definite and indefinite articles such as 'the', 'a', 'that', 'an', etc.

Instead, emphasis is put on keywords that are l'oaded' with 'meaning' and words that convey a powerful sense of 'action'.

After all, news revolves around something happening, and reporting this involves use of words that capture the action well.

Going back to the article above, the chosen action word is 'clear' meaning 'remove', 'act' or do something about changing a situation.

Well, the same word also conveys the sense of something being evidently easy to perceive, and hardly possibly to disprove.

So, is the newspaper calling for the 'clearing' of any doubts around a new polio vaccine?

Or are readers being told there are 'clear' doubts about this vaccine?

I need to 'clear' my mind, (you probably should do the same).

Tuesday, 14 August 2018


Words are the building blocks of communication. Whether in isolation or combination, they are used to convey meaning. But frequently for the media in Kenya, words are carelessly stitched together. And it's no longer shocking to find TV graphics alluding to infertile news couples or childless parents.

Only a fertile imagination, perhaps, can come up with the details in the straps above.

What in the name of procreation, is the viewer expected to make of the words, 'news couples' and the supposed fact that 2 million of them are infertile?

That pseudo-statistic arises from a very minor error, but the outcome is a major source of editorial embarrassment.

Another critical element is context.

Each of the words may appear to make sense, like the lower-third information above, but what they collectively imply may not be sensible at all.

How such an obvious contradiction can escape the scrutiny of editorial gatekeepers is another newsroom wonder.

But the on-air result is far from being wonderful!

Thursday, 9 August 2018


Broadcasting stations in Kenya have raised their rivalry a notch higher. And this has in turn sparked a scramble for star talent, perceived to be critical in curving a competitive advantage. But there's a growing need to re-engage the audience, because a personnel-centred approach in TV news can only deliver so much. The writing is on the camera lens.

In these 'post-millennial' days, it was surprising that the above live cross with the 'seasoned' reporter/editor, had to be aborted on account of such an elementary technical challenge.

As if the battery status message appearing on screen was not damning enough, the news production crew allowed the live signal to continue, until the camera gave up the ghost, leading to an on air freeze.

It's likewise important then, not to ignore any indication that a channel could be deviating from its core functions.

Enough with 'Tanite' and its associated TV foolery, and let's get focused on the needs of the viewer.

A station may opt to bring together a star-studded team to enhance the delivery of content.

If the content is wanting, however, no amount of 'fine' delivery would compensate any lack of serious substance to offer the audience.

May 'tanite' find its way back to 'tonight'!

Thursday, 2 August 2018


It's not easy to find media reports that are agreeable with the entire audience. That's why being objective or balanced ranks high in journalism. That way, the audience gets to draw their own conclusion. So why should a newspaper purport to use a universal description of something? Adjectives like 'ultra-modern' could as well be describing crap.

The caption above describes one thing, but the picture seems to show another.

What is actually meant by 'ultra-modern' and is it applicable across the board in terms of perceptions?

In other words, if according to the newspaper something is 'ultra-modern' are readers still allowed to hold a different opinion?

A good journalist tries to avoid such superficial use of generalised adjectives, especially when dealing with hard news.

Such kind of value judgement is suspect!

But you be the judge.

Wednesday, 25 July 2018


Interpretative storytelling is the crown of journalism, and many an editor will frown upon stories that merely state obvious facts, or regurgitate what news subjects said or did. But the media sometimes subtracts meaning and adds nonsense, which leaves the audience none the wiser.  

In the above picture caption, it's being suggested that physical well-being is an attribute that's being directly linked with home ownership.

If 'healthy' individuals own some of the depicted houses, is the reader supposed to imagine there is another group of 'unhealthy' individuals in the same settlement scheme that don't own houses like those captured in the photo?

And just how insensitive can that kind of reporting be?

Here, it looks like there's inadequate editorial 'wealth'...

...and that is not healthy!

Friday, 20 July 2018


Delivery of information is critical in media operations. If important details are not passed across in a clear manner, then the entire point of communication is undermined. It doesn't make much sense to spend so much time and resources in news gathering and processing, then do a shoddy presentation. Such has led to the lowering of the quality of TV news lower thirds.

Why should a viewer struggle so much to read what is being splashed across the TV screen, as part of the editorial content of a news story?

The lower third story tags are supposed to provide additional context to a story, or even enable one to immediately get the gist of a news item, from the choice of key words on display.

Moreover, a viewer could be in a place where the TV is on but the volume is turned down, and so the on screen text acts as valuable conduit of pertinent details about a news story, in summary form.

The challenge for news producers is extracting critical information from a story, and deploying the resulting text in a limited space.

In some news production systems, the software automatically leaves out any excess characters and you either end up with an incomplete set of information, with the missing text making it difficult to understand, or an unintelligible mash up of pseudo-characters.

Other systems accommodate the extra characters but also in the process, reduce the font size.

This is great, but only to the point of not making viewers squint, as they try to navigate through the now miniaturised body of text, battling for a breathing space.

That is not a favourable bottom line!

Friday, 13 July 2018


Media outlets strive to get unique content. Exclusive content stands out, and potentially enhances ratings or readership. The challenges though, is to differentiate your content from that of your competitors, from a coverage of same events. The risk of two newspapers reporting different facts from one event,  is never far, it seems.

What or who is the audience supposed to believe, when two of Kenya's top newspapers give a contradictory interpretation of one court ruling?

Both papers can't be telling the truth, can they?

And is it safe to conclude that one paper is lying?

The angling of the story could perhaps be the cause of the differences in the coverage.

But looking at the two headlines in the two papers, the writers of the two articles could as well not have been referring to one court session.

How else could one court ruling spawn opposite interpretations?

This is one sure way of courting controversy!

Thursday, 5 July 2018


It's a good idea to think global and act local. In Africa though, what is local stands a very good chance of being despised. And what is perceived to be global, which might actually be just foreign, is readily espoused. That's why a newspaper that primarily targets a Kenyan audience, will use a foreign looking image to illustrate local situations.

It might be deemed to be inappropriate or even unfair to ask whether a newspaper in the U.S. might find it useful to use images depicting a setup in Kenya, nay Africa, to explain a situation in America.

Here, the Kenyan writer of the article is highlighting the folly of equating a relationship to a source of income.

The couple chosen for the illustration of this situation can pass off as African, with a lot of imagination.

But the worrisome detail from the image in this context, is the currency in view.

Is it that Kenyan money (and couple) was found wanting, or hopelessly insufficient to capture the essence of the story?

And only the 'mighty' U.S. dollar could do the job?

This is a sure way of diminishing local value systems, and adding value to the notion that that which is foreign will always be superior.

Away with this inferiority complex!

Wednesday, 27 June 2018


A single newspaper is a reflection of the work of many media professionals. And the published product is by design meant to cater for the interests of a diverse readership, especially if it's a national paper. Each publication follows a defined editorial policy and house style. But this does not mean there's a fixed template for writing headlines, like this 'dumb-as' edition.

In an astonishing display of an acute lack of imagination, the Kenyan daily inundated its readers with article headlines hinged on the same style.

From the front page depicted above...

...the trend continued unabated, and unashamedly.

So there was this...

...and this.

That also...

...and this one too.

And there was more...

...of the same type.

It seemed not to matter which page an article was placed...

...or the subject matter.

The sport section too...got its 'unfair' share of the 'conjoined' headline format.

And that concludes this 'dumb-as' edition of Headline Writing 101.

I hope you've not learnt anything worth emulating!