Some more interesting / thought-provoking stuff from the comments section.. .my response to some of the issues raised is in bold.
Acolyte: Speak of the devil. Starting a paper may not be hard but keeping it running will be hard,the advertising pie in kenya is not all that large.
Acolyte:Let me ask what do you define as a well written story on politics?
Kenyan Pundit: Something that’s more than a compilation of random facts…and more of an attempt to piece things together. I would like to see more stories that have an investigative or scoop aspect along these lines or that attempt to make a connection between the current state of Kenyan politics/government inaction and the conditions that most Kenyans find themselves in like this story does. Or that attempt to move away from the political amnesia that plagues Kenyans, like this one does.
Acolyte: Yes I know the press has to move away from the usual he said she said stories. But what else do we want on to be told on the political scene? More of the people’s opinions?
Kenyan Pundit: See above.
Acolyte: Well once in a while there is an opinion piece but the people aren’t the news makers coz many people wouldnt buy a paper to read a story about Wanjiku talking about the constitution but would do so if it was about one of the maverick MPs.When you talk about hard hitting that usually ties in with investigative reporting.And from some of your comments above you can see the challenges that face that kind of reporting.Also there is a limit to how much social activism a newspaper can do that will make it change from a newspaper to some sort of social activism newsletter.
Kenyan Pundit:I’m not looking for social activism, just good reporting…there has to be more than just a recitation of events and facts. Particularly now that the government is not breathing down the neck of the media like it used to. I was talking to someone from Zimbabwe the other day and they were so envious of the fact that the Kenyan press are able to operate relatively freely…journalists in places like Uganda, Ethiopia, and so on are being killed and hounded out of their countries just for trying to report the truth…I think our media is under some obligation to put their hard-won freedom to more than cut and paste stories. Also those journalists who are feeling constrained by the major media houses have alternatives if they are willing to step outside of the box.
Acolyte: There should be a healthy balance in a paper between news reporting and advocacy (of course depending on the papers’ editorial policy . But dont forget that newspapers are a business so as long as the people buy it they will keep churning it out, but that does not mean what they are doing is ok. Anyway I think I may have lost my train of thought time for me to go!
Kenyan Pundit: Thanks for your chemsha bongo! Allow me to quote liberally from this op-ed: “If nothing else, I know what makes a good newspaper. And that something has nothing to do with circulation, profit margins or staff size. Other factors come into play.
For example, good newspapers are unwavering in their commitment to their community, whether that “community” is a national audience, a big city or a small town. They serve as a kind of glue that provides various factions with the same information so that they can unite or divide based on their views. They are linchpins for change, not for their own personal gain or to buck the status quo. Instead, they understand their mission: to use all of their collective talent to make the community a better place…. And good newspapers go a step further. They provide insight into the issues that your family talks about around the dinner table each night. If their stories make you wiser, outraged or even empathetic, the papers are succeeding. You should see your concerns and experiences reflected in many of their pages. That’s a must, because that pattern keeps you loyal. Good newspapers play it straight. And when doubts surface, they explain their actions. But they are neither arrogant nor defensive. Instead, they appreciate a basic truth: that an open door provides transparency and more. It brings in new thinking that enriches the end result….Good newspapers have another quality: They are not formulistic. Instead they take delight in presenting a rich and varied menu each day, including stories that surprise and even amuse. They know that there are few stories unworthy of pursuing. The question becomes how?”