Top media personalities have defended a fellow colleague who became the subject of online conversations after his live coverage of the arrest of Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro in Murang’a, on Monday evening.

Joe Ageyo

I’ve done this for 21 years and I can tell you it’s no walk in the park. Victor found himself in a breaking news situation and gave it his best- his first live report of that kind. He’s destined for greatness. Truly proud of him.

Hussein Mohamed

“So give Victor Kinuthia a break. It was his first live link in a chaotic scene. He’ll learn like many of us. Let’s revisit this when he makes it in a few years, In Sha Allah,”

Selly Kadot Amutabi

To all those bashing Victor Kinuthia because he fumbled with the Queen’s language. Najua kuna wenye mko hapa ?

First and foremost, good English ain’t a measure of intelligence give the young man a break. He reports in Kikuyu normally, that was a first time in English and I must say He did very well.

Second and lastly. No one is perfect. We all get better as time goes by and we learn.

Kudos Victor keep trying until you be the best!

Tom Mboya

“Watching this Citizen TV reporter report that Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro has been arrested Live from Murang’a, reminds me of the importance of reading and preparing well for an examination before stepping into the exam room,”

Yvonne Okwara

“it was his first time. He will get better with time. We all start somewhere. We will train him.”

Ferdinand Omondi, BBC

By now you must have watched Inooro TV’s Victor Kinuthia imploding on live TV. And I have something to say.
There are lots of people having a field day: Armchair experts, trolls, career kill-joys and ‘çritics’ tearing him apart, and also ripping into Citizen TV with ‘is that the best you got ‘,etc etc.
Fastofoo, Victor had an epic stage fright. Let’s just get that out of the way. Yes, he froze. He fumbled. It probably didn’t help that he appeared to think in Kikuyu and then try to speak in English (never, ever, works).
But then. I am told he mainly reports for Inooro TV, and apparently he is very fluent on home soil. Obviously this was an away match.
However going live – for the first time, so it would seem- for Citizen TV, Kenya’s number one station by viewership, is no mean feat. That’s like an average footballer suddenly running for a heavy political seat in an unfamiliar constituency. You can expect a false start.
I can’t speak for Victor. But I have been in front of the camera and also in-front of a live audience as an actor and presenter. Stage fright is real, and absolutely numbing. You may have all the words upto 3 seconds before cue, and suddenly all that you had rehearsed evaporates. All you see is a white light, your throat dries up and the only thing that comes to mind is absolutely irrelevant content. While you should be thinking about Ndindi Nyoro’s arrest, your impish brains starts playing weird stuff like mbinginji imekulwa na ndoggy, and your mouth is tempting you to sing along!
So what do you do? Fiddle with your earpice, shift restlessly, say stuff you absolutely know doesn’t make sense; but you think the senseless sentences are better than staying mum with some 5 million people staring at you behind the camera. Which is why you will find every excuse to pause and think of what to say next, like stare at every distraction, including a passing ambulance.
Victor had a bad day in office, but we have no right to mock him like that. He will learn from this, and in subsequent live hits, I am sure he will come good. I have read that he has received lots encouraging calls from colleagues and team leaders. That is what he needs.
Ad-libbing (speaking without previous preparation) is an art that no media school will teach you. You learn this with constant practice and experience. In Victor’s case, he has (unfortunately) had to practice on air.
That said, I wonder whether it was absolutely necessary. Having worked for all 3 major Kenyan media stations, I have to say news producers do not protect their talent very much. Something happens, you haven’t even gathered your thoughts as a reporter, and bam! You are ORDERED to go on air, sometimes for minutes on end. Instance: There’s a fire which started ten minutes ago, the reporter has just arrived, but the news anchor is asking questions like what was the cause of fire ? How many are dead? And what are the police saying? Never mind that all a reporter can see at the time is- you guessed it- fire, smoke, and people running for their lives! (or towards the fire like Kenyans are wont to do). The policeman authorized to make a statement is not even on scene. Not even the tenants know what caused the fire. Absolutey no one nearby knows if anyone is trapped or dead . And reporter has no producer to help him collect this information. But go live anyway, so the audience can see we are everywhere and on time.
We have to review this obsession with going live at any cost and without preparation. Sometimes it may be necessary, but please remember to protect your reporters, or at the very least, limit your questions and time on-air until they have collected something worth putting on air. It also doesn’t hurt to give them a few minutes to rehearse those lines (debatable, but consider it). Hii maneno ya ‘keep talking, keep talking’ in someone’s earpiece when they have run out of words to say will not help anyone at all.
Victor, if you read this. Congratulations. You stepped up, and did what you could in the circumstances. You will become better. Ignore the mockery (or walk it off). Focus on the encouragement. You are learning. Keep your head up and you will excel. Ferdinand out.


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