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Hi everyone, please meet Delayed Lead!

Somebody wrote a story in The Star for six paragraphs without anyone knowing what the writer was talking about.

Mixed reactions after Ruto appoints ex-Treasury CS senior adviser,” said the heading of the February story by Brian Oruta.

A heading with the President in it. A recently disgraced Cabinet Secretary (now appointed senior adviser!) in it, too. That is an important story.

It was supposed to be a news analysis. But it started out with a chronology.

“On January 14, 2020, former Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich was sent packing by then-President Uhuru Kenyatta.”

History, huh? Complete with month, date and year? That’s how you want to start a story? The most important piece of info you want your readers to know is a date on a calendar? Why?

In the third graf the writer said, without background, that Rotich was in December last year “cleared in the Sh63 billion Arror and Kimwarer graft case by the court”.

The court? What court?

Never mind. The sixth graf was still a chronology: “On Thursday, the former CS was on the headlines again, but this time around, it was for a different reason…. [the President had appointed Rotich Senior Adviser]”.

The heart of the matter, which in this business we call the Lead or the Intro, didn’t show up until the seventh graf. And it read like an afterthought, a by-the-way:

“His appointment has attracted a series of mixed reactions from a section of Kenyans, some sending congratulatory messages while others have questioned the appointment.”

What took the writer so long? Was this story subbed? Did anyone give a hoot about a little thing called story structure?

Nah, none of the above. Bad from The Star.

Next time please spare a thought for the basics in the news business. Like, start with the heart of the matter. Stick the most important piece of information at the top. The least, supporting info? Sprinkle that downward.

The inverted pyramid. Surely somebody sitting at a desk at Lion Place has heard about that one, no?

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