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, 29 March 2019


The media can report on every subject, as long as it's in the public's interest. And its journalists or news editors, are given the significant task of determining the newsworthiness of a story, interpreting facts, and repackaging them for the audience. But it's hardly safe to conclude that media practitioners have adequate or uniform capacity to discharge this noble duty. Media lunacy especially, can thrive in a statistical fallacy. 

Statistics or stories with a lot of mathematical details can be quite a challenge to many scribes, and once in a while, you can come across 'shocking' interpretation of raw data.

The lead story in the Kenyan daily above, could be an example of how strange stories can 'purportedly' emanate from concrete research.

Admission to local universities, one would like to believe, is strongly based on merit, the limitations by factors such as good facilities or superior teaching staff notwithstanding.

It is therefore a bit perplexing to see university enrolment being directly correlated with variables like population size, in a not so 'meaningful' context.

How can a region having the lowest number of university students recently, be linked with population statistics from 10 years ago?

The processing of information from the same set of data, appears to lead the writer/editor into making very confusing interpretations, like:
'In the six counties, female students make up less than one-tenth of one per cent of the total state-sponsored number of 455, 515.'
What would such convoluted facts really mean to the average reader?

The 'shock' element so desired by the publishers of this article, leaves a lot to be desired!

Friday, 22 March 2019


Some content that gets published in Kenyan media outlets can be quite astonishing. And this is not always linked to the substance of news stories. Unchecked creative language use, or misuse of English can give rise to strange expressions like 'cartographic Githeri'.

Anyone familiar with the dishes of central Kenya, will be quite perplexed by the highlighted section in the article above.

It may not be lost to many others that the term 'Githeri media' has often been used to ridicule the 4th Estate in Kenya, for its perceived penchant of focusing on 'trivial' matters, or to disparage media content that is deemed to be of poor quality.

This, of course,  has to do with a certain 'overhyped gentleman' who got copious media attention, after being spotted with a bag of that dish mostly associated with central Kenya, while waiting for his turn to vote.

Even though the article has to do with Kenya, the context in the identified section is far removed from Kenya, taking us as far as the Indian sub-continent.

And the writer of this opinion piece appears not to be a native of central Kenya.

So what exactly is this 'cartographic Githeri' or is it another reflection of a catastrophic 'Githeri media'?

Friday, 15 March 2019


A newspaper's editorial space stands out from the rest of the publication. It is where the paper expresses its position on topical issues. And for very good reason, therefore, not just any staff member can craft this highly regarded article. That's why it's so shocking for a newspaper to allow a poorly written article to occupy its editorial page.

And poorly written, in this case, is not in terms of how the article has been laid out, or even grammatical inadequacies.

It is an alarming congruence of inaccuracies and fallacies.

A stupefying display of ignorance and detachment from historical facts.

And a shameful portrayal of journalistic flaws.

The articles seeks to rally one of Kenya's most successful football club, to achieve even more success in an Africa cup competition, after registering successive losses.

These are the main highlights of the article about Gor Mahia:

- 4.0 humiliation at the hands of Egypt's Zamaleck

-during the CAF Confederation Cup quarter finals

-when Algeria's NA Hussein comes calling

- they are the only team in the country to have won the continental tournament then known as CECAFA in 1987

- Thirty years is a long wait

How is it possible for the editor not to know that the Egyptian team is Zamalek, the tournament is still in the group stage not quarter finals, Gor has already played the Algerian team at home, and the next opponent is Angolan side Petro Atletico de Luanda?

The most horrifying misinformation is that Gor is the only team in Kenya to have won a continental tournament, then known as CECAFA in 1987.

How does one even begin to confuse a continental tournament with a regional one?

Even the said long wait from 1987 to 2019 is certainly not 30 years.

And that is how not to go about editorial writing, my not so learned editor!

Friday, 8 March 2019


One of the core function of the media is to inform, enlighten or educate. But sometimes, an encounter with the editorial content in Kenyan outlets, can leave you none the wiser. The risk of being confused is so high, you couldn't know whether you need therapy or physiotherapy.

The newspaper article above is about a group of teachers, affected by alcoholism, completing a rehabilitation program.

But then then the horrendous first paragraph alludes to the odd fact that the teachers:

"...were enrolled for physiotherapy."

How?...Why?....Because who said?

To further compound this puzzlement, there's mention of psychiatrists being involved in the rehabilitation process.

In other words, professional psychiatrists, (do we have amateur ones?), were providing physiotherapy services, to recovering alcoholics.

In the public's interest, the media may need some editorial rehabilitation, from this kind of ignorance.

Friday, 1 March 2019


Newspaper articles use different approaches to first grab a reader's attention, then sustain it with useful or information or interesting details. Repetition of information is frowned upon, not unless its necessary to emphasise a point. But a reader need not be reminded that brothers are brothers.

At first mention, there's no harm in stating that the key subjects in this particular story are related.

For what it's worth, the writer should perhaps not be heavily faulted for establishing who is the younger or elder brother of the central figure in the story.

But to shortly afterwards re-state that the younger, elder, and key person in the story are brothers, is pushing it too far.

Oh brother! We get it, they are brothers.