The ladies and gentlemen who grace our screens on a daily basis as they keep us up to date with the happening around us are celebrities in their own rights. I am talking about news anchors.
It is one area in the media that is prone to ‘itchy feet syndrome’. In fact, so much so that they had to hold a reality TV show to look for fresh new faces. Remember ‘The Presenter’ show?
My concern, however, is with people who are always quick to hit out at news anchors for not being good enough. I think this country has come a long way, including in news presentation.
We have a number of news anchors that can easily make it to the international news channels and do us proud, were they to get the chance.
Jeff Koinange, for example, is tried and tested. Julie Gichuru identifies with the news as she reads it, annoyed when she has to be and sympathetic when the news is in that tone. (I have no time for anchors that remain emotionless all through the news.)
I have watched Catherine Kasavuli, Beatrice Marshall and Njoroge Mwaura on the screens since I was a teenager, and they are all exceptional. Louis Otieno too is in this category but I prefer him as a host of his own show.
Going by eloquence, appeal and professionalism, Esther Arunga stands out as our top presenter. She is slightly ahead of Penina Karibe, Janet Mbugua, Janet Kanini, Lillian Muli and John Allan Namu who are all great in their own way.
Johnston Mwakazi is a revelation. Keep it up! For Kiswahili news anchors, Nimrod Tabu, Mwanaisha Chidzuga and Swaleh Mdoe are great, although Swaleh needs to stop that outdated reference to his grandpa.
Then there is the new breed of young news anchors that have learnt pretty fast and typifies the progress we have made.
Rama Nyang and Mark Masai are a case in point. They both made that switch from radio to TV, and it is working.
I have to give a special mention to Smriti Vidyarthi who has learnt very quickly. I remember an interview she did with Nation Sports Editor on Harambee Stars.
Even though it was rather obvious that she did not know a lot about football, she handled the interview very intelligently.
I respect news anchors like Julie Gichuru, Beatrice Marshall and Nimrod Taabu who go out there and cover news too. So are our news anchors pathetic? Absolutely not.