Great stories can help Kenyans make sense of issues

Monday, August 30th, 2021 00:00 | By
Media personnel at work. Photo/Courtesy

Last week, I had the privilege of joining journalists, media innovators and the larger community of the Aga Khan University’s Media Innovation Centre in one of the trainings.

I must say that learning is a life-long experience and there is always a refreshing way of understanding things, that we think we already know. 

Journalism is the art of story-telling and this training by Augmented and  Virtual Reality studio – Vragments founder; Marcus Bosch, was on mul-timedia story-telling and I just couldn’t help but marvel at how we sometimes focus on the subjects and topics of interest, when all we need is to tell the story. 

As we enter the political season and the campaign period, the perpetual issues in our public domain are corruption, politics, political differences, the truce and peace dividend occasioned by the Handshake. 

Jubilee’s development track record will even get more attention. We are also likely to witness the political leaders from different formations use both unorthodox and orthodox means to endear themselves to the electorate. 

More often; these issues and political speak will focus on what is going on and what the key players are doing. 

But with the public attention and the attendant public interest dimension, what would help Kenyans make sense of these issues are great stories. 

Lots of time when we engage with journalistic stories, the focus is always on topics and issues and as we speak, we have heard so much on issues touching on graft, politics, Handshake, bottom up and coalitions but most Kenyans are not moved, because we end up understanding these issues for what they are, and not for what they mean to us. And that is where the story comes in. 

For instance, it is not so much about corruption as it is about the story of the common citizens struggling to make ends meet or peasant farmers who would get better incentives in a corrupt free Kenya.

We need to see corruption and the attendant fight against it in the lives of the common citizens, we also  need to know how stolen funds at the county government affect the lives of folks at the county level.  The picture has to be seen from the experiences of the common citizens.

Today, a lot is happening and folks are talking about the President and his deputy, yet what we need are stories of their coming together and what it has meant for the lives of the common citizenry, told from the citizens lived experiences. 

Kenyans still have memory of how the Jubilee folks celebrated the win. Today, we see a divorce and what is missing is the story, the story of the folks who celebrated the Jubilee win.

How has their lives changed and what do they have to say about the Jubilee government. 

Stories of the experiences of folks in the coastal region where the Blue Economy has taken off with billions of shillings pumped in the coastal economy, would be a lot more illuminating than news reports of how much has been pumped by the government. 

Stories of the redesigning of Kisumu City to face the lake with a new port, from the experiences of business people at the lakeside city, would probably provide for very intelligible political discourse in the public domain. 

Just like stories of how the anti-corruption watchdog and the Assets Recovery Authority are succeeding in mitigating graft at the source, as most people in authority look over their shoulders. 

Stories, change lives and stories give us a sense of life in the way we experience it, and in the run up to the 2022 General Election, we need more illuminating stories from the very people who will be giving power to the elected leaders.  [email protected]  

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