DOWN MEMORY LANE:KENYAN JOURNALISTS AND FACT-LESS WRITING: The Case of John Muchiri’s Story on Zuqka on Friday 10th September 2010

By Kohadha Roy Ogolla on Monday, September 13, 2010·

Over two years ago, I became the first artist to openly challenge a group of writers who wake up in the morning, go to their working spaces atop some building and simply because a computer has been provided for them, write anything without research and have it published on the leading dailies as “entertainment reviews”. I was subjected to lots of criticism, mostly by the journalists themselves to a point that when I was part of the TEAM that WON the MTV MAKING THE VIDEO AFRICA CHALLENGE, not so much was written about it. In fact, Lupita Nyong’o, got all the pages on the dailies as “the winner of the MTV Making The Video Africa Challenge”.

Two friends of mine who I respect so much, James Murua and Adhyambo Odera, somehow managed to pin me down for a ‘lecture’ on two different occasions, Murua at Wasanii and Adhyambo at The UN Complex and ‘convinced me to go slow’ on their colleagues. They actually gave me an alternative avenue to air out those issues that I have with entertainment journalists. This is the reason why hardly nothing is heard from me when some mediocre story gets the nod of a lazy editor and makes it to the printing press and ends up on the Zuqkas, Buzzes, Pulses, etc. In the last one year, I’ve tried to be “civilized” and made it my duty to inform the lazy editors of the glaring mistakes their writers made and continue to make in most stories. It is unfortunate that not so much has changed. For that reason, I’m back!

On Friday September 10th 2010, the main story on Zuqka was “NEW FACES AND KALASHAS TAKE THE BISCUITS” by John Muchiri. Reading the article, one will be forgiven to ask if the writer has any idea of the happenings in the local Film and TV Industry, with TV being the emphasize. As much as John tried to let the readers know about what has been going on on the local TV Screens, it is a pity that not even him has an idea!

First, the first paragraph of the story had something like this “….will we see the good old Omosh staggering on stage or OJ shedding ‘crocodile’ tears as they receive gongs…” OK! What was Muchiri trying to put across? What did he expect to achieve with the above statement? What does Omosh, as a character, got to do with Kinuthia, the family man?

Secondly, there was a lot of mention of ‘new faces’ on TV… those mentioned included Janet Kirina aka Jessica and Wanja Mworia aka Reba, both of “Higher Learning” on NTV no pun intended, below is a dictionary meaning of fresh;

fresh |fre sh |

adjective

not previously known or used; new or different

By insinuating that Janet Kirina is a new face on TV after being on “Makutano Junction” on Citizen TV and “Block D” on KBC is the biggest mistake that should be made by a sound journalist. The same applies to Wanja Mworia who until now stars on “Makutano Junction”. The same mistake was made on the mention of “Tabasamu” giving a chance to a new breed of actors. Seriously, how new is David Mulwa, Hellena Waithera, Kariuki Thige?

Thirdly, by stating that “…. Citizen TV’s new series ‘Kashshe’…. Permitted, the artist in me allows me a minimal time to sit in front of my TV, but as far as I know, there is no program on Citizen by the name of “Kasheshe”. The latest entrants on the already full plate of Citizen TV’s local delicacies are two Children Programs “Machachari” on Saturday 7.30 p.m. and “Tinga Tinga Tales” on Sunday at 5.50 p.m.

Fourth, which is the biggest of Muchiri’s story’s mistakes is how he managed to mix up the names of programs, actors and the stations they air. By stating that “Mheshimiwa” airs on Citizen and that the main actor is called Joel Otula. God, “Mheshimiwa” airs on KTN on Monday at 7.30 p.m just before “Be The Judge” which Muchiri glorified in five words, maybe without knowing it, and the main actor is Joel Otuko, a man who has seen it all in the Kenyan Theatre Industry in the 20 years he has been part of it. He actually is a legend and for someone to mix up his name is disrespectful! This ‘small’ in developed industries can lead to a huge law suit on a writer, thank Heavens, we are in Kenya!

Generally, the story had lots of mistakes that could be avoided if enough research could have been done. It is true that Nini Wacera and Eddy Kimani have re-invented themselves in “Nairobi Law” but it is sad to note that Pinky Ghelani-Raj is still part of the program. I believe that there are very many new faces on TV, and leading the pack with that is “Changing Times” on KTN that did not get any mention on Muchiri’s story!

To Adhyambo Odera, The Entertainment Editor, Nation Media Group, kindly allow me to repeat this piece of advice I had given you last year;

Thanks for having Tim Kamuzu Banda tell us nothing of importance in his “Rave” articles, it has helped us know about those places that are inhabitable as far as raving is concerned. Philip Mwaniki has decided to tell it like it is, waving his whip on any direction ready to teach a few lessons to our artists, as long as he does not get too personal and carried away, let him be. The other writers too can go ahead and do what they do, Ciku can vent her anger on nothing, we are used to it. Cindy can continue solving those petty issues for the youths, Sammy Kitula is allowed to do paper football among others.

However, kindly give JOHN MUCHIRI a new responsibility. Let him be the official “entertainment reporter”, allow him to got around town and report back on the events that took place, we will appreciate that. He seems too busy to do a simple research on a story! He needs a less demanding job; like walking to the Carnivore for a Mugithi Night armed with a press pass and free money for booze, or maybe a flight ticket to Mombasa for a Q fm, Easy fm and Zuqka beach parties and coming back to Nation Centre and telling the country how it felt to walk bear chested and footed on the ‘sandy beaches’ of Mombasa as if there exists ‘clay’ beaches anywhere in the world. In short, LET JOHN MUCHIRI DO WHAT HE DOES BEST, TELL US WHAT WE ALREADY KNOW!!

If you need someone to do art reviews, kindly bring back Clay Muganda from Golden Dreams where he is doing an equally good job as the editor of “Passion” the Magazine, or maybe convince your bosses to have Mwenda Micheni write for Zuqka. Then kindly reduce on wasting too much space on gadgets that have no meaning and/ or impact on our day to day lives!

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