Kenyan Journalists misusing blogging platforms with sensationalised articles

blogger journalist

blogger journalist

Blogging and social media  have affected  and completely  redefined Journalism, Media and how we consume news and information. The effect and whether good or bad is still something the pundits, law makers and governments globally are yet to agree on.

In Kenya, blogging has come to be associated with Hate Speech. This is despite the fact that, those ‘bloggers’ who have been taken to court  and rarely charged turned out to be some Kenyans posting inflammatory posts either on Facebook or Twitter. That has not stopped the mainstream (traditional) media from branding every blogger as bad, crying that the whole fraternity is in dire need of regulation because they should not enjoy all the benefits of  ‘Real Journalists’ and none of the responsibilities. The rise of blogging and Social media in Kenya is happening at mind boggling pace which has made for  interesting studies since our infrastructure is still poor in most parts of the country and internet costs are still extremely high in comparison to other African countries.

Against all odds, there is a growing number of Kenyans who are spending a good amount of time online either on whatsapp, FB, twitter or reading blogs. Through the years, there has also been a huge decline in the number of people buying or reading the local daily newspapers. There is a common joke (thanks to our President)  that Newspapers nowadays are just for wrapping meat. The recent launch of  Nairobi News by the Nation Media Group and its shut down less than a year later as well as the reduced circulation for many of the other daily papers from various media houses is to some extent due to the shifting readership.

There has been an interesting  phenomenon in the Kenyan blogging space. Journalists from Kenyan media houses are now taking to blogs in a bid to salvage their columns and increase their readership with the  hope that the online readers will follow them from their blogs to their newspaper columns. This is quite acceptable as a writer is a writer regardless of the platform they use. However, what is of concern is the nature of articles being posted by these journalists. The other interesting point to note is that, the very same journalists are losing their Journalism code of ethics, and what differentiates bloggers from them by writing sensational articles purely meant to get Kenyans Online reacting and forwarding the article links to their friends. The pure dis-regard for research based, well informed articles attacking  married women and lately, people from certain communities and their cuisines is not only a betrayal of their role as journalism, it is a reflection that these journalists and the media houses they work for condone this  and no longer care for objective and responsible reporting.

To them, its all about the hits.

Maybe its now time for Kenyan Bloggers to call for the recall of  accreditation to certain Journalists for they no longer deserve to be referred to as such.

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6 comments

  1. Ominde Okoth Ka'Wambura Reply

    It is true that bloggers are giving traditional journalists a run for their money, what I find lacking is your assertion that journalists are turning to blogs just to run away from journalists code of ethics that they have to ascribe to while writing for their papers.

    Times have changed and journalists are just trying to connect with their audiences where they are – online. In many circumstances though it goes beyond that. Stories get “Killed” in the newsroom for various reasons from editors being in bed with the personalities involved in a scandalous story to stories having a negative impact on a media house’s commercial interests and everything in between. For most journalists this is usually when they resort to their personal blogs with screaming disclaimers reading: “Opinions are my own bla bla bla”

    This does not only happen in Kenya, it’s the practice all over the world and I would run out of time naming CNN,BBC, Al-Jazeera, MSNBC journalists who run private blogs.

    I also don’t find this piece very factual, I would have loved to see examples of articles by these “journalists” linked to this article so that we can judge for ourselves.

    That is not to say that journalism is a perfect profession, definitely not in Kenya. For starters we are struggling with people who run around claiming to be journalist but they have never seen the inside of a journalism class – that was the basis of the Media Act 2013.

    I also agree that even among those who are trained journalists, there exists a few rotten eggs and that is not unique to this profession, just like we have rogue cops, rogue lawyers etc. That however does not warrant a blanket condemnation of journalists who run blogs.

    • admin Reply

      I like the discussion we are having and I wholly agree with you that Blogs have continued to provide better avenues for journalists.

      As I noted, I am not against journalists using blogs, my concern is the growing trend of certain Kenyan Journalists using the platform to write baseless generalized articles, some of which are tribal.

      I refrained from providing links to their blogs because that would negate the whole essence of this post which was about them doing it all for the hits. However, for the sake of giving facts./evidence, check the blogs written by Daily Nation writer Njoki Chege and Standard group writer Nyanchwani.

  2. Ominde Okoth Ka'Wambura Reply

    Now that you mentioned Njoki Chege and Nyanchwani…well I agree that neither Nation nor Standard would publish their articles but that would not mean that the views they express in the blogs can be described as a misuse of the platform.

    Let us not forget the basic fact about blogs which is that they are personal opinions and journalists too have personal opinions. In one of your articles you wrote about how Biko Zulu used this in his post “Visa Denied” which went viral in hours – you very aptly explained what wud have happened if he were to publish it in any of the magazines he edits. What makes you think that the same does not apply to these two journalists/bloggers?

  3. Pingback: De blogosfeer | Elien

  4. bankelele Reply

    Such sensational / unverified / smear stories used to run in the tiny Nairobi tabloid newspapers, but now they are posted online on blogs

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