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Want to write sharp intro that speaks truth to power? See this

You might as well tear up the Bill of Rights when it comes to Lokupu village, Loima subcounty, Turkana (Star, February 24, p.). Superb! You can’t miss the disgust of this journalist. Headline? Forgotten Turkana village: no water, no school, no clinic.

But then this: After more than two decades of high altitude mountaineering, Kenya’s higher education sector is returning to base camp with near-fatal consequences as the education boom cools off (People Daily, February 24, p.17). A sharp drop in the number of self-sponsored students coupled with a cash flow tsunami…Stop! News writing gone crazy.

The last ten years have seen the number of public universities rise from less than 10 to over 100 as county governments moved to stamp their presence on the higher education market. Ni kweli Kenya had less than 10 public universities in 2012? And county governments have built some? Kama gani? Only nursery schools are under county governments.

The gala night, held at the artistic Nairobi Street Kitchen, saw a gathering of industry stakeholders in a glitzy and pomp affair, which saw celebrated acts such as dancehall king Redsan and fresh stars The Luchi and Tesla Kenya entertain guests (Standard, February 25, p.2). Rambling, struggling prose. Gala night “saw a gathering of industry stakeholders in a glitzy and pomp affair, which saw…”

Nation headlines: Why is he still in office? (Monday, February 21). Lame duck king? (Wednesday, February 23). Project or prophet? (Friday, February 25). Maswali mingi kama polisi.

In a country where more than 10 million people are slum dwellers while only 15 per cent of the population own homes, having a grand dream house in mind might seem like just that. A dream (Nation, DN2 Property, February 24, p.2). Only 15 per cent of Kenyans own homes? Kwani all those millions of homes people have built around the country don’t count? Ni vibanda? What’s a home?

With her ears as a foetal doppler and her palm as a transducer, Domitila Aoko Nyalego is ready for her first client (Star, February 22, p.20). You may use “foetal doppler” and “transducer” in a feature story but not in the intro. They are unfamiliar, technical tools most readers can’t figure.

A school trip turned into a nightmare and near death experience for Tot Secondary School students in Elgeyo Marakwet. Pokot bandits emerged from the bushes shooting indiscriminately (PD, February 23, p.2). There are no “Pokot bandits” any more than there are Taita robbers or Maragoli rapists. Individuals commit crimes, not communities.

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