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Diaspora remittances and off-side ‘Business Daily’ headline

analysis, monitoring

A January 23 story, “Diaspora remittances: Why you need a relative abroad”, published online by Nation Media Group’s Business Daily, differed with the content, sparking some debate on aligning headlines with the content under them.

Written by Vincent Owino, the story, which was about increased remittances by Kenyans working in countries abroad, quite differed from the headline, finally leaving a curious reader asking: “Why should every family need to have a relative abroad?”

The paragraph immediately after the headline went: “Money sent home by Kenyans living abroad continued on a growth trajectory to hit a record Sh671 billion in 2023, significantly boosting the country’s current account balance amid falling export revenue”.

From the headline the reader might have thought the story was about families giving views on how they had gainfully benefitted from relatives working abroad.

Reading beyond the headline though, one easily realised the writer’s focus was on the country’s economic gain from increased cash transfers by Kenyans working abroad.

In a country where job scarcity has triggered migration of Kenyans abroad, the headline appeared to suggest, “get the next baby on a plane, dollars are waiting out there”.

Could the editor have given this story a more compatible, compelling headline that captured the reader’s attention without distorting facts or beating about the bush?

A story telling a reader about a country’s economic gain out of increased remittance from citizens working and living in the diaspora, would be better told with a more believable, informative headline.

Aha…the editor might have intended to humanise the story by ‘brushing’ its headline with a populist gest tone…”Oga, look where dollars are flowing from! I have always suggested this’s how our neighbour’s children are building their grand-ma’s new mansion!”

A sort of canny way to put the reader ‘in the box’ to read further into the story.

Journalism, however, is guided by ethos, among them, stating facts as they are. In this case, the headline failed the test of accuracy where a headline should rhyme with the story body.

A well-written story with a misleading headline can be likened to a black spot on a white garment. One can see clearly where the distortion lies.

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