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Readers shouldn’t scratch heads wondering what writer meant

Two recent stories in The Star and The Standard left readers scratching their heads about what the writers meant.

That shouldn’t happen.

Let’s start with Star. “Prophet David Owuor honoured with private jet as he takes gospel mission to Brazil”, said the heading of a February 10 story by an anonymous writer. (The byline simply said, “by Star Reporter”. Don’t know why newspapers pull this stunt. What useful purpose to a reader does it serve to report anonymously?)

What in that heading leaves you frowning? The word “honoured”.

Prophet Owuor was honoured with a jet? What might that mean? Did someone in Brazil gift the man of God an aeroplane? A whole aeroplane to bring home and pack at a hanger in Nakuru?

It’s hard to tell from the heading. So, you dive into the story curious, hoping – with near certainty – that the story would explain things.

Par 1: “The Prophet Dr David Owuor has been honoured with a private jet for his gospel mission in Brazil”.

The prophet? Never mind. Let’s stick with meaning. What does it mean Owuor was “honoured”? The intro didn’t say.

Par 3: “Reis said the Man of God was honoured with the private jet to facilitate his gospel mission”.

Rosenverg Reis, a state deputy in the legislative assembly of Rio de Janeiro, was reportedly Owuor’s host. Still, we don’t know what “honoured with a jet” means.

Par 4: A quote from the host: “We have decided as a state to honour him with a high-end Lear Business Jet 45 from Bombardier …’’

Ah, it’s starting to make sense. The writer plucked this word, “to honour” from a source. The source probably knew in his head what it meant, but did the writer?

The story was sprinkled with pictures, apparently showing Owuor’s Brazil tour. In one photo he is sitting alone, the only passenger in the jet.

Still, the story said four times that “the prophet” was honoured with a jet, without explaining once what that meant.

Clarity died four times.

Then, The Standard. You have heard of the recent story about a rich Naivasha man who died and left in his will part of his estate to a girlfriend?

Well, Standard wrote his profile. “Amario: Memories of Kenya’s most eccentric son linger 14 years on”, said the title of the February 11 feature by Antony Gitonga and Steve Mkawale.

Most eccentric son?

The story sprinkled anecdotes about “Amario’s life”, painting pictures of how he did things “differently”. But it never qualifies the heading, “Kenya’s most eccentric son”.

Most according to whom? By what comparison?

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