Print media coverage of county governance in Kenya: a content analysis of the Daily nation and the Standard newspapers.
The aim of this study was to examine the print media coverage of County Governance in Kenya by analyzing the two leading dailies: Daily Nation and The Standard. Framing Theory, Public Sphere Theory and Agenda Setting Theory, were used to guide the study. The data used in this study was drawn from the two leading local dailies: Daily Nation and The Standard for the period of May 2013 to April 2014. The referenced time period was significant on the basis of some observations. First, the country was fresh out of the election in March 2014 and the government was hard pressed to work under the new constitution. The constitutional implementation process that began way back in 2010 after promulgation was to gain momentum with the new leaders in the office. A total of 364 newspapers were analyzed and data collected from the two leading dailies were coded in Excel MS and analyzed accordingly. From the findings, the study revealed that both newspapers covered county governance issues relatively well because virtually all the newspapers sampled had a story or two related to county governance issue or issues. The Standard newspaper had more articles pertaining governance issues principally because there was a section specifically dedicated for county governance issues. After the analysis, a number of dominant topics came to the fore. A number of articles contained issues such as Revenue Allocation, Salaries, Central Government Relations, County Hiring, Corruption at County Government, County Government Spending, Governors' powers, Senators' powers, Members of the County Assembly, County Governance among others were found to be dominant. Nevertheless, most of the issues were presented by reporters who merely reported the incidences that touched on County Governments. Significantly, most of the articles or stories sampled were of poor quality with the reporters regurgitating on issues instead of providing in-depth and well-researched information regarding the issue at hand. Whilst the two newspapers covered the County Governance issues, their objective to foster good governance at the county level was probably not felt. Consequently, there is need for training and sensitization of reporters, editors as well as other print media gate keepers on the significance of covering County Governance issues in a thorough and comprehensive way. The print media should also give space to Devolution experts who will pre-empt pertinent issues. Lastly, print media houses should meticulously train their reporters on matters County Governance so as to have an informed group of reporters reporting on County Governance issues.