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CITY GIRL – Jeff Koinange: A case study of how not to be a journalist

There is no other way to put this, but ­Jeff Koinange is the biggest anti-climax of the millennium. He is disappointment personified.

When you watch the circus that is Jeff Koinange Live on KTN, you pity the fellow, for it is difficult to believe that this is the same man we all watched in awe and admiration covering the Niger Delta on CNN.

In his stint at CNN he probably achieved what many Kenyan journalists can only dream of. Which is why it is hard to reconcile your thoughts when you watch a man who commanded international recognition and respect (he has an Emmy) reduced to a shadow of his former self, hosting the region’s most obnoxious television show.

Jeff’s downward spiral is of biblical magnitude. He is fast hurtling down the path to self-destruction, and he is a classical riches to rags, grace to grass story, falling from the journalistic heights of interviewing the likes of Nelson Mandela to bringing clowns to his “bench” for a shouting match, complete with irrelevant props like a gargantuan fire extinguisher.

Jeff’s story of failure should be taken up as a case study of “how not to be a journalist” and journalism professors should use it as a cautionary tale to ward off young journalists from the path of ruin.

STOP THIS NONSENSE

I am writing this as a concerned citizen and a worried Kenyan woman. I believe I speak for many Kenyans when I say it is time someone told dear Jeff the truth. IT IS TIME TO STOP!

Jeff, I think it is time for you to take a deep breath and stop this nonsense you call a television show. Your show has become like a local pub, where anyone and everyone can come and vent all their vitriol, insult whoever they wish, make misogynistic comments and walk away scot-free. All the while, Live on TV.

Your show, Jeff, has become a hotbed of hate speech and inflammatory personal attacks against your victims. I won’t call them guests because in Africa, we treat guests with respect. I am sure you see that through your African eyes.

I know it is the election season and times are hard in the media industry. Ratings, in these tough times, are like a tumescence in old age, hard to come by and people would do anything to make it work. But Jeff, you are better than this. You have worked for CNN, for god’s sake — not that CNN matters to Kenyans — but you have worked for the best, and among the best.

You, Jeff, are not some struggling TV bimbo trying to get her name known. You are an entity on your own, you could sit on a bench on Aga Khan Walk and people would stop and listen to you. You don’t need controversy and that fire-extinguishing razzmatazz to get people to tune in. You just need to be yourself.

TAKE TIME OFF

You do not need to use tricks and schemes like pulling cunning surprises on your guests by having other loathsome guests “popping in” on your show because they “‘happened to be around”. Your guests honoured you with their time and you must respect that.

You cannot have a guest make rape jokes on your television show as you go about your business unperturbed, giggling hysterically like a teenage girl.

You cannot have clowns on national television talking about sex holidays, sponsors and bimbos while children are on a two-month holiday.

You, Jeff, are a son of a woman and you must never allow women or anyone else for that matter to be disrespected in any way under your watch.

Jeff, I think it is time you hopped on a plane and jetted off to Malindi or some pristine island at the Coast and stay there for a month.

Take that time to think, something that has been glaringly missing from your shows. Think about what you really want to do. What message your show wants to pass.

Then, come back. Delete the numbers of those clowns who use you and your show to spread their idiocy and get us some great television.

Get in line Jeff, Emmy award-winning journalist or not.