Media Council of Kenya (MCK) has conducted training for Nyamira journalists to enhance their skills of collecting, packaging and disseminating quality stories on devolution.
The Council Director of media training and development, Victor Bwire challenged journalists to change tact and approach of doing devolution stories, so that members of the public are rightly informed on what is happening in their respective counties and stop scandalizing everything from the county.
“Reporters are ready to follow and do sensational stories from the counties, which don’t add value to their audience, they instead create a wrong perception on what the counties have not achieved, yet these counties are the same ones which have played a key role in milestones of governance and democracy we are enjoying currently,” Bwire observed.
He pointed that journalists have a watchdog responsibility by doing exposés about corrupt deals in the county, but advised that such stories must be investigated thoroughly, be concretely factual and be objective in angling such stories to avoid unwarranted legal suits which will tarnish one’s career or end it at worst.
The training director recommended to reporters to shift from ‘events journalism’ to solution journalism, where they undertake in-depth research on development programmes or projects the county officials are undertaking to improve the lives of its citizens.
He said this approach will change the perception of the people and empower them to demand from their leaders to perform as they promised when they were looking for the leadership posts.
“Advantages of devolution outweigh the personalized scandals we concentrate to report about. County officers are temporary but devolution is constitutional and in Kenya to stay, the more reason why journalists should create a professional working relationship with sources is because they have a big role in the growth and development of counties,” explained Bwire.
A former director of Migori County Governor’s communication office Nicholoas Anyuor, pointed out that media plays a critical role in information dissemination to members of the public on what is happening in the county and should therefore execute their reporting roles professionally.
“Journalists are both watchdogs and whistleblowers and their reporting should endear the county officers to objectively work to ensure that devolution achieves its purpose. Whatever story that journalists are reporting about in the county, they should ensure it is professional, factual and balanced whether the issue is positive or negative,” said Anyuor.
“Undertake your due diligence to rightly differentiate between devolved and non-devolved government departments and thoroughly understand their operations because you have a critical oversight role in ensuring that county development programmes are undertaken as stipulated in approved policies,” he advised.
Bwire hinted that a great percentage of the country’s development projects geared towards achieving the vision 2030 goals are implemented by the county governments but such development projects are under reported or not reported at all.
He advised reporters to cut a niche in development solution based reporting because its reward in terms of professional growth is guaranteed.
By Deborah Bochere