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Soipan is hot? Fine, but smitten scribe’s opinion doesn’t qualify as news

Photogenic Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuya is locked in a Sh3 million court battle with her estranged husband (Star, October 12, p.2). What has “photogenic” got to do with this story? It’s the opinion of the writer. Not fact. Isn’t beauty in the eyes of the, er, ‘beer’ holder?

The multi-millionaire Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuya became the first Maasai woman to land a Cabinet role when President William Ruto came to power in September 2022 (Star, October 12, p.2). Rich woman? No. Para 6: Her modest Sh156 million treasure ranks her among the least wealthy ministers in Ruto’s administration. You say she is a “multi-millionaire”, and then describe her Sh156 million wealth as “modest”? Hapa Kenya where people can’t afford unga?

Dr Matiang’i said his predecessor, Prof Jacob Kaimenyi, was the one in office when the process was initiated (Nation, October 12, p.4). This awkward phrase “was the one” and its variants is bad construction and unnecessary. Simply write: Dr Matiang’i said his predecessor, Prof Jacob Kaimenyi, was in office when the process was initiated.

Days after Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel, leaders have weighed in on the conflict (Nation, October 12, p.6). What does this intro mean? Not clear, because the phrase “weigh in” is imprecise, doesn’t say anything exact. To “weigh in” is to make a forceful contribution to a debate or competition. Write concretely, strong verbs. If the leaders oppose, support, condemn or are divided on the conflict, say so.

King Charles III will make an emotional visit to Kenya later this month (Standard, October 12, p.8). For real? How can you report that a visit that is yet to happen will be “emotional”? What do you mean by this? How did you verify this claim?

Cracks have emerged among opponents of Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza over the manner in which positions will be should they succeed in removing her from office (Nation, October 11, p.23). Not clear. Something definitely missing.

Survivors of the Shakahola massacre in Malindi, Kilifi County, are battling social isolation (Standard, October 9, p.8). Massacre: Indiscriminate and brutal slaughter of many people. Is that what happened at Shakahola?

These sentiments have been echoed repeatedly in towns and hamlets dotting the isolated homesteads in Shakahola since the bodies of cult victims were discovered (Standard, October 9, p.8). You know a town. A hamlet is a village, thus smaller than a town. A homestead is simply a home. How can towns and hamlets “dot” (be scattered in) a homestead, which is smaller than both?

Several students at St Theresa Eregi Girls presented with joint pain and fatigue, requiring hospitalisation (Standard, October 9, p16.) You will certainly find “presented with” in health journals or statements by medics. It means to complain of an illness. And that is what a scribe should write in a news story, not medical jargon.

Currently, it’s rumoured that Ruto has fallen out with his deputy Rigathi Gachagua in what could shake his support base in the region (Star, October 10, p.4). Nah, journalists don’t report rumours. Their job is to sieve rumours from facts, and report the facts.

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