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Thursday, March 06, 2008

What Does Jeff Koinange's K24 Stand For?

Towards the end of last year, a brand new 24 hour news channel was quietly launched into the Kenyan market. Apart from a full page advertisement in the Standard newspaper, there was very little else in terms of promotion.

Today barely 4 months later, this new TV station clearly modeled along the lines of Atlanta based CNN continues to quietly exist.

To be fair, K24 has had its’ moments. Many of these have emerged from their eyewitness news segment that brings breaking news. The idea is to evolve this into some sort of citizen journalism thing where virtually anybody can report from where it is happening. During the troubled times that our country has recently passed through there are many potentially award winning features that have been aired in this segment. One sticks out very clearly on my mind where host jeff Koinange interviewed a German woman in the ruins and ashes of a burnt down children’s orphanage in Eldoret. Apparently what angered locals was the fact that children hailing from different tribes were happily interacting with each other.

It was also on K24 that I saw an intimate interview with ODM’s William Ruto, expertly conducted by Jeff Koinange on the lawns of what is clearly the famous journalists’ favorite hotel, namely the Norfolk Hotel. Koinange used his wide array of skills to ask the controversial legislator every question even his enemies would have loved to ask, and did it with such finesse that there was never a hint of offence on his guests face at any single moment.

There are a lot of other creative news and human interest segments being aired at K24. In brief there are a lot of good things going for this new TV channel owned by Kameme FM owner Rose Kimotho. Clearly its’ strength is Jeff Koinange. Years of experience with CNN and at the very top in International journalism are clearly showing in everything that our very own Jeff Koinange does.

Sadly the big weakness of the new TV station is the fact that Jeff Koinange hardly has any backing to speak of. Indeed the shoddy design graphics and presentation as well as the kind of editing that would cause plenty of laughter in Atlanta, has put off a lot of first time viewers from what is in my view excellent content. Sadly if you look around for views from most Kenyans, the word that keeps on coming up is “amateurish.” Clearly our world today is such that it doesn’t matter what the guy walking into the job interview says, as long as he is not dressed properly. First impressions seem to be everything in our media crowded world. The fact that the great and experienced Jeff Koinange is a presenter alongside other well known names like Eric Latif (formerly of KTN Prime Time) seems to have been neutralized.

The folks at K24 are clearly oblivious of the basic structural issues that they must take care of to really soar.

Currently only Kenyans in Nairobi and it’s close environs are able to receive K24 signals.

There is one other thing that I have noticed. The same thing that happens in numerous enterprises owned by Kikuyus seems to be happening at K24, which is a great pity. In a country that is very ethnic sensitive at the moment, there are too many Kikuyu presenters on K24. It seems that they were not able to find qualified presenters from other communities. Just the kind of thing that would cause people to brand it the Kikuyu 24 news channel.

See also; The Changing Face of Kenyan Television

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Chris, I think you have a fixation with everything Kikuyu. If you remember the way your favourite station(It has to be KTN) started there were few hiccups. The only experienced faces then were Catherine Kasavuli and Njoroge Mwaura. We had Fayesh Quresi and we had a rockie shabilly dressed Zain verjee who has gone on to be the biggest Tv anchor from Kenya.

So whats my point? Every new venture has its teething problem and as you correctly pointed out Jeff Koinange is a great journalist. The gist of your article if I correctly surmise is that this is another station owned by a kikuyu. You have a problemm with kikuyu presenters, kikuyu owners, kikuyu soundmen, kikuyu cameramen kikuyu everything.

I have read your posts so many times and brother its time to lay off propaganda. Your principals have achieved their dream and i think its good for Kenya but for heavens sake people can see you are setting up a propaganda preliminaries against K24.

I dont know what community you come from and I dont really care but you shouldnt treat anything Kikuyu like its selfish and bound to fail. FYI, Kameme FM is one of the most successful business ventures in the kenyan media landscape and its not because of patronage but their programming is top of the range.

I rest my case

Anonymous said...

Although I find this article overly flattering of K24, I'm glad that it points out a common practice in many Kikuyu-owned enterprises -- a tendency to employ only/mostly Kikuyus. While I am confident the K24 will get better with time, like any new enterprise does over time, I think it is critical that they be sensitive to the fact that Kenya is a multi-ethnic society and employ Kenyans from across the ethnic spectrum and not Kenyans from only one community. Continuing to be Kikuyu-dominated risks undermining its credibility, especially if it should take on controversial topics that touch on ethnicity, however so remotely.

Anonymous said...

Get your facts right. people in kitui get K24 crystal clear

Anonymous said...

k24 does put off some potential viewer - it has a "jua-kali" look to it.You cant compare what they present to KTN or NTV.One thing that left a bad taste in my mouth is when they begun showing a documentary on kibaki's life right after he had been sworn in quickly in state house.as the documentary was being screened,we could hear gunshots from home and see smoke in the horizon...that put me off k24 for good

Anonymous said...

I once worked for a company owned by a mkamba. Most of the employees happened to be Kiuks. I dont think this was the planned by employer, i think it just happened by coincidence. That was back in 2003. At that time we didnt care about tribe. It just my mind goes back to that time and i can remember all of us in production dept where kiuks(and one meru and one chuti). I think its trivial to start looking at the surname of presenters/cameramen/journalist and make a judgement out of that in a media hse. As a private enterprise, I dont its important to keep checking the ethnic background of people you are employing. You simply employ the best qualified people who apply. Only government institutions should be sensitive to ethnic diversity because of politics. But my opinion is politics involving ethnicity doesnt have to influence private enterprises as long as the employees deliver and are qualified.

K24 has improved greatly within a short period of time since it started. Its far from perfect but they are moving in the right direction. One can only imagine how they will look in 5 years time. Am sure they will be great.

Anonymous said...

I think one of the causes of ethnic problems that Kenya experiences is due to people being in denial.I dont think this article was exclusively to point out the kikuyuness of K24.
Personally as a Kenyan non-kikuyu i feel that many (not all) kikuyus tend to be a tad overly defensive and in denial about their role in the kenyan ethnic problem.
If only sometimes you put yourselves in other people's (tribes) shoes you'd understand where we are coming from.It's pretty obvious that K24 is a kikuyu dominated enterprise, lets call a spade a spade, i wouldnt know if this was purposely done by the K24 employers or not but other tribes notice these little details.which you tend to brush off or deny.especially when one goes to work and all ones workmates resort to speaking in a dialect one doesnt understand and is not obliged to understand.
I dont think Chris has a problem with kikuyu this or kikuyu that.My understanding is that he is trying to point out why resentments grow and explode like this past tragedy we have just experienced.Whether we like it or not kenya will be very tribal for many generations to come and to get rid of this negative tribalism we need to pay attention to and attend to even the most minute details if we are to grow as a united nation.Kenya has to become balanced even if to the littlest detail, there should be represantation all the way from turkana to lamu.
Not to say that we should shun our respective tribes but we should shun grouping and isolating ourselves in a negative tribal way with total disregard for others and their opinion and culture.
At this time of healing we need to be honest with each other, talk to each other respectfully without fear of judgement as we try to find out what went so wrong and why, as we try to solve our ethnic problems.

Daniel Waweru said...

There is one other thing that I have noticed. The same thing that happens in numerous enterprises owned by Kikuyus seems to be happening at K24, which is a great pity. In a country that is very ethnic sensitive at the moment, there are too many Kikuyu presenters on K24. It seems that they were not able to find qualified presenters from other communities. Just the kind of thing that would cause people to brand it the Kikuyu 24 news channel.

Difficult to tell exactly what you're talking about, since you give no stats, or indeed, any evidence whatever, to back your claims that (i) businesses owned by Kikuyus are disproportionately likely to employ only Kikuyus (or a suspiciously large proportion of Kikuyus), or (ii) that K24 has a disporportionately large number of Kikuyu presenters.

In any case, a disproportion in the ethic composition of the workforce is, typically, insufficient to prove discrimination. Usually, one also has to show that there has been intent to discriminate, or show that there has been a historical pattern of discrimination, which would then justify the presumption that an ethnic disparity is motivated by, or the result of, discrimination.

You have given precisely zero evidence that there is, in fact, an ethnic disparity in employment at K24, and that, if there is, it is the result of intentional discrimination, or – because of longstanding historical discrimination – may be presumed to be so.

And, post-independence Kenya lacks the relevant history of systematic ethnic discrimination. Dercon et al, for example, find no significant difference in the wealth of the average Kikuyu and Luo. A good test for systematic discrimination is this: have minority groups been represented in government? Throughout Kenya’s post-independence the answer is yes – the evidence, as Karuti Kanyinga shows (cf. Kanyinga. 2007. Governance Institutions and Inequality in Kenya), is that ethnic minorities have not been seriously marginalised, and that minority communities have often been over-represented in government (see p. 50). It is also clear from his findings that the first Kibaki administration was easily the most ethnically-representative of post-independence governments.

Unless you can show intent to discriminate, or (i) obvious disparity, and (ii) reason to presume that the disparity is caused by systematic historical discrimination, you're best off not throwing around accusations of tribalism. (If you had been arguing about gender represenation, you'd have had a very strong case, btw)

Kimi Raikkonen said...

What is your problem with Kikuyus? When it was pointed out that Raila's company, Spectre International, had employed 95% Luos, yet he was a man who was running for public office, you defended him.
Now you are accusing K24 of allegedly over employing Kikuyus, without any proof! Get a list of its employees to prove ethnic bias, otherwise you are just making baseless allegations.
You have previously accused Royal media services and its Citizen media outlet of being a Kikuyu biased station simply because it supports Kibaki, yet the same media house runs five or six stations catering to various ethnic groups, including perceived Kikuyu enemies.
It is quite obvious that you are using this blog to spread anti-Kikuyu malice and hatred.To what purpose, it is a mystery to me. The motivation i can discern, however, is jealousy and envy that is eating you up alive, and unless you learn to fight the destructive emotion, you will end up a poor, bitter, broken, soulless caricature of a human being. You see those filthy, drunken, homeless hobos in American movies? That is a future you if you don't stop.
I can also tell you that if you imagine that you will escape any future explosion because of your myopia, you are daydreaming. You are now sowing the wind, you will reap the whirlwind.
I would advise you to raise the standard of journalism and debate in your blog if you want to be respected.

Anonymous said...

By the way what Kimi is saying is the plain truth. You are going to be one bitter person for nothing. Be easy on yourself. You see we ve just come out of an ugly period which actually went to show that when all is said and done the many Kikuyus are not the problem to this country. The obvious lack of hegemony among members of this community should in fact tell you that these people cannot be blamed for the shortcomings of our society. Just because other tribes find it prudent to want to associate with their tribesmen perhaps because of their small numbers or simply as a cultural thing does not mean the same case applies to Kikuyus. Such is the independence of Kikuyus and it hurts when they are accused of seeking each other to undermine the rest of the communities.

And of course as any community, there can be specific shortcomings but the one you highlight is obviously not one of them.
Just like the elite of other tribes have participated in graft without us pointing a finger to their kinsmen should be the same standard applied for members of the Kikuyu community.

As one respondent has aptly quoted, your average Kikuyu is no different from the rest, other factors constant.

Anonymous said...

This was an interesting entry. I have to admit when K24 started I was quite pleased that we finally have a 24 hour news channel that we can call our own. I think there should have been some planning before they went out there. First impressions count & that's why we always want to look our best & be our best at a job interview. In the same way, the channel should have had the same "first impressions count" in mind. I agree with the poor graphics, poorly edited clips and poorly written scripts. It is unfortunate that after Dec 07, the country is still divided along ethnic lines. Some may agree, others may hate to agree with me (but will anyway!) that the presenters at this new station as well as reporters, there are a few that have potential. The others it is just quite difficult to understand what they are saying or where their report is heading. On the positive side (if you see it this way) they put on overly lengthy unedited video clips to cover up the lack of script writing abilities and you tend to get the whole speech (even if that's not what you paid for!)which can be a good thing, i suppose. The station has potential, but they need to diversify and bring their A game. Where is Jeff these days anyway?

Anonymous said...

the perception is true that k 24 has employed only kiuks, that, note kindly, is just a perception. ethnicity is a monster that has to be destroyed by all well meaning kenyans who are able to employ people. i know of a company which is owned by a kiuk and a luo and their employees esp the ones that collect money are luos! they also have mechanics who are luo! so, we should stop making a hullabaloo about kiuk enterprises employing only their own. how comes we dont raise eyebrows when companies owned by luos employ only luos? or lambas employ kambas (as in the case of most of these cleaning companies). we should just balance the whole thing. that is where the challenge is.

Anonymous said...

The writer has a point in a far as he exposes his own view of matters Kenyan.

If you are looking for kikuyu-ism or mhindi-ism in everything, you will see a lot of the stuff, especially if a kikuyu or mhindi owns the things you focus on.

While the average person will feel 'marginalized' one way or the other, not may are prepared to work to get what they think is denied to them. They then hide behind their tribe just like our politicians.

My view is that whereas employers have to be sensitive to ethnic inclusion, employees must have the skill and will, and a good work ethic, independent of their tribes. In fact bringing your tribal identities to the workplace is recipe for disaster.

kenyan said...

I think those who are Kikuyus should stop defending themselves against the malice being projected toward them right now. They should just do as they have always done: work twice as hard and manage their money well. There always will be jealous talk, especially from people who are actually to blame for their own retrogression due to imprudently promoting cultures that enhance too much politics and little actual work-- which equals all the things they would like to have but can't. Those 'not Kikuyu', start your own K24s and hire your brothers and sisters first, then your neighbour, then your. . . you get the point. Stop whining and go get it!

kenneth said...

k24 is on the right direction,look at the food if it is good to hell with the cook,and their food(content) is good!

PAUL said...

your program is wao! keepup i like you...from PAUL GACHOKA kimathi university

Simpiri Jr. said...

Like different fingers from the same palm look different,our views on any matter must be diverse.'None is perfect in this imperfect World';These are the words of Patrice Lumumba a one time Congolese Legislator.Despite of what we have in our minds,in our motives whether ill or moral towards other tribes or communities,the truth must always introduce itself.A better proof will be a reference if there is a testimony that clarifies someone who have gone to K24 to secure a job vacancy and denied even with all the qualifications.Everyone, provided skilled ad competent is eligible to work i any media house even where vernacular dominates chaces are wisely offered for the sake of nepotism,tribal and racism sensitivity.The Media Law and ethics will jet in if any prejudice or stereotype against an individual or a group of people is found.As fair,trustworthy and balanced media personalities in Print and Broadcast Media,'tis our high time to take caution on communication to maintain not only our reputation in the Public eye but also sicerity.

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