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