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Former CNN Kenyan anchor speaks out on ‘hotbed’ goof

Former CNN Kenyan-born news anchor Zain Verjee on Thursday added her voice to the #SomeoneTellCNN trend and called for ceasefire between Kenyans on Twitter and the broadcaster.

Zain who worked for the international broadcaster for over 14 years before leaving explained that the ‘hotbed’ statement is common in the American TV business.

She added that CNN USA is under daily pressure for ratings and often uses the statement to grip the attention of the audience.

“CNN USA is driven by much more by short-term gain, higher drama with a daily pressure of ratings and the need to win the minute. CNN international is more nuanced, not driven by the business of daily ratings. There is there’s a much more sophisticated internal approach to Africa programming and reporting,” read an opinion piece she posted on her blog.

Zain admitted that Kenya has had security challenges some that she has covered while reporting but urged international media to equally broadcast the positive side of the country.


“But during the Obama trip, also leave a few minutes or 30 seconds before a break or a kicker to show some cool Kenyans doing cool stuff, spotlight the innovation, the humor, the technology, the style, creativity and the vibrant political debate.  Lots of awesome stuff is going on. It’s not a whitewash. It’s the real other side of the story that does not get told in a 90 second piece or three minute live interview,” stated the journalist.

Kenyans on Twitter lashed at the international broadcaster on Thursday after it captioned the country as a terror hotbed during a live discussion.

An article authored by the broadcaster’s pentagon correspondent also had the statement on its title but it was later edited and an editor’s note inserted.

Zain urged Kenyans to focus on the bigger picture of how the Obama visit could benefit the country economically while sharing the country’s positive stories.

“So Kenyans have given CNN a hard slap on social media. We have flexed our hot twitter muscle and voiced our displeasure. Let’s put it to bed,” she stated.