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Smart people read Star but petty stories, cheap headings degrade brand

You land on the-star.co.ke on random days and, above the fold, the following headings leap out at you: “Vera is prepared to be a single mum” (September 13); “Gospel singer Pitson: I paid women’s rent for sex” (September 9); and “Juliani: Me, dating Mutua’s ex, make your own conclusion” (September 2).

Hear more: “King Kaka shares first photo after hospital”; “Omosh forgot about me, says first wife”; and “Vanessa Mdee has had a smooth pregnancy.”

Of what value are these stories in a national newspaper?

Clearly, these headings cannot sit on the same pedestal with, “Laikipia is a no-go zone for political meetings” (September 13). Or “Can Ronaldo return make Man Utd a European force again?” (September 13).

The former headings are petty, frivolous. And, as if the headings aren’t cheap enough, the content matches their frivolity.

The Vera story started out with this intro: “Vera Sidika says she is emotionally and physically prepared to be dumped by her baby daddy Brown Mauzo.” More like story time at a hair salon in Kaloleni, isn’t it?

The one about gospel singer Pitson was a story of a pastor’s son who grew up to be a preacher, too, found money early in life, got married, then kept being distracted by a series of affairs.

And the heading with rapper Juliani and Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua’s estranged wife, Lilian Ng’ang’a, was a near verbatim repeat of a similar story in Tuko.co.ke, based on a social media post by Juliani. No independent research. No interviews. No original quote. No verification. No journalism, really.

King Kaka and his first photos after hospital? By a show of hands, how many of you, national newspaper readers, know King Kaka? And who is Omosh? Vanessa Mdee?

How did these names earn spots on headings in a national newspaper? On the other hand, who reads The Star, housewives of Kawangware? No disrespect to Kawangware.

All examples cited above are written by the same author, Elizabeth Ngigi. These stories belong in a tabloid. If The Star is a mainstay in the national news media, if it’s still “independent, fresh and different,” as the masthead announces, if still “smart people read The Star”, as the brand proclaims, somebody at Lion Place should mentor Ngigi and peers to step it up.

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