A political communication research conducted by Dr. Kioko Ireri, Associate Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication and Jimmy Ochieng, a graduate student (MA in Communication Studies) has been featured in three national newspapers (Daily Nation, People Daily, and The Star) – in the last one week.

The research investigated the visibility of Kenyan politicians in four national newspapers (Daily Nation, The Standard, People Daily, and The Star) over a 4-year period – from April 9, 2013 to April 9, 2017. Specifically, the research investigated five major things: First, the visibility of members of the National Assembly, senators and governors in newspaper news of the four dailies. Second, the study examined pictorial news visibility of the three categories of politicians (National Assembly members, senators, and governors). Third, it investigated the visibility of female politicians (elected members of the National Assembly, county women representatives and nominated members). Fourth, the study examined the negative coverage of the members of the National Assembly, senators, governors, and women politicians. Finally, the research investigated variables that predicted the appearance (visibility) of the members of National Assembly, senators, governors and women politicians in the news section of the four newspapers. The research data was collected using quantitative content analysis, and six constructed weeks sampling technique, which allowed for the generalization of the findings.

Those findings revealed that overall, the most covered politicians were Nairobi Governor Hon. Dr. Evans Kidero, Bungoma Senator Hon. Moses Wetangula, Bomet Governor Hon. Isaac Ruto, Leader of the Majority in the National Assembly Hon. Aden Duale, and Kakamega Senator Hon. Dr. Bonny Khalwale, respectively.

In pictorial coverage, the most visible politicians were Governors Hon. Isaac Ruto (Bomet), Hon. Peter Munya (Meru), Hon. Dr. Evans Kidero (Nairobi), Hon. Hassan Joho (Mombasa), and Bungoma Senator Hon. Moses Wetangula, respectively. The strongest predictor for the members of National Assembly in news was negative coverage, while criticizing the government determined coverage for senators. Commenting on devolution matters predicted the visibility of governors and the appearance of women politicians in news was predicted by commenting on corruption-related issues.

The research was funded by through a grant for the Academic Year 2015-2016, from the Office of Academic Research.