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Man died ‘in line of duty’ and other stories that will kill our papers

I do not read newspapers anymore.

We hear this statement a lot. Why would a man get so agitated, so frustrated by what we, the media, think we do exceptionally well? Nini inawasumbua?

Step out Mr Demas Kiprono, Deputy Executive Director at the Kenya section of the International Commission of Jurists.

Last week, Kiprono refused to comment on what the media reported as “sweeping proposals” on Kenya’s criminal procedure code.

After reading our stories on the said “sweeping proposals” Kiprono was clearly fed up, accusing the media of “only picking juicy parts of the story of this very progressive bill.”

Was he right?

Let us see. The smart people at The Star quickly scanned through pages of legal mumbo jumbo in the suggestions and immediately ran down the streets of Nairobi screaming that our Chief Justice wants sex workers given more freedom.

We agree with Kiprono. Reducing a well-researched document on a wide range of legal reform proposals into one headline: “How Sex workers will enjoy more freedom if new bill becomes law” was, well, a bad attempt at sexualising serious business.

As such, we would not blame Mr Kiptoo if he said, “I don’t read newspapers anymore.”

We also suspect they lost one Hussein Khalid, the Executive Director of Haki Africa, by again citing only the juicy part of his response to the proposed law reforms touching on prostitution. Khalid is quoted saying: “It’s willing buyer willing seller and there is no problem with that.”

Taken out of context, we are not sure that this ‘selective citation’ was not clearly meant to push the narrative the story’s headline heralded: That sex work will soon become ‘more enjoyable.’

Next? I do not read newspapers because I find some stories disgusting.

Well, we went searching for evidence of this serious allegation. After going through ‘mountains’ of evidence, we settled for this ‘disgusting’ gem on Capital News: Police probe death of 54-year-old man during sex encounter with 23-year-old girlfriend.

Juicy right?

But Capital News went and proved that juicy can be disgusting. Hear this: Police in Kitengela are investigating the death of a 59-year-old man who died while engaging in sexual intercourse with his girlfriend aged 23.

And then: “After eating, he (the intercourser?) requested that they proceed to the bedroom. At around 1600hrs as they were making love, he fell unconscious. She placed him beside her but unfortunately, the deceased went for a long call on the bed.

Disgusting, right?

Next charge: Newspapers do not tell us anything new.

Again, we looked around and settled on The Standard’s “Greatest wish for a nurse who oversaw the birth of a president”.

Good story. Problem is, it is not new – the last time we read about this particular nurse, Uhuru Kenyatta was President and the story of the nurse who pulled him out of Mama Ngina’s womb was told over and over!

We already know how Uhuru was born, so why tell it again when we have a new President in town who we are all dying to know how he was born? Because as long as Bill has a navel; Bill is son of woman. Go search for that nurse in Sugoi.

Then there is: I do not read newspapers because sometimes the stories read foolish.

Again, we have mountains of evidence on this matter, but we will settle for The Star’s story on King Charles III’s visit. The smart people at Lion Place devoted a page on the car the royal couple rode in Nairobi: “It’s a Disco! Details of King Charles Landover ride for royal visit.”

Here, read for yourself, copy-pasted, bad grammar, and all: “Unlike other leaders who snake through the city under the sun with Land Cruisers, King Charles III is different.

His Majesty and Queen Camilla have been riding through Nairobi in a Landover Discovery 4. The deep blue in colour high-end vehicle is a 2993cc diesel engine tinted at the rare windows, most probably where sits the King.

The disco was visible during their visit to State House, Nairobi and when the royals toured the Eastlands library on Tuesday afternoon of course accompanied by security with riders leading.

The Landrover Discovery is an off-road SUV legend type of vehicle which comes in five generations from one to five, also known as the disco generation.

The disco also had a red registration number plate, a key feature for vehicles driven on Kenyan roads to either mean its vehicle owned by a foreign embassy or international agency. The red plates are called diplomatic number plates.

Simplistic?

Finally: We are tired of reading newspaper stories because some stories are beginning to read like recycled gossip.

On this matter we settled for Daily Nation, and the now-white-now-blue helicopter story from the banditry in Baringo.

Baringo locals spot another mystery helicopter linked to banditry” (October 28, 2023).

Good story. But there was the same ‘mystery helicopter’ story from Baringo reported back on March 11, 2022. The author is the same, only the helicopter’s colour has changed, from white to blue.

One thing is no longer a mystery: Our newspapers will not die someday because social media is taking over. They will die for lack of quality content.

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