Explainer: Why Kenyan media houses have different presidential results

The chairman said although the IEBC will not name the winner today, it will use the results posted on its portal to say who won the presidential election.

"Results in the public portal are the same that the commission will use to declare the results. We have given agents, media and certain stakeholders access to the same... declaration of Presidential results will not happen today," he said.

Presidential votes on Citizen TV.

How fast or slow a media house broadcasts the Presidential results depends on the factors below:

  1. Number of data entry clerks. The more the hands, the faster the tallying.
  2. Technology being used - some media houses have automated systems for data entry and tabulation. This data then has to be converted for use on TV or web. That is a technical aspect that depends on workflow and how broadcast systems are configured.
  3. Tallying is not uniform - this depends on the approach being used. The downloading of forms depends on the approach the media house wants. Some may opt to focus on strongholds of individual candidates, others will randomly download the forms.
  4. Data processing speeds - some systems are slow, others are fast. This determines the speed at which the data teams verify the results.
Some of the memes circulating on social media.

Ahead of the August 9 poll, media published several opinion polls that sparked emotive reactions from the political class. Whether the pollsters will be vindicated by the final tallies or not, is a matter of time

Creativity in presenting numbers

Numbers mean nothing if there is no context. This is why media has gone to great lengths to present this numerical content in creative ways that is easy to understand. Apart from watching TV or listening to the radio, audiences are online to consume and look for content to share. Any media that is not packaging the results for consumption on various media platforms is missing an opportunity to reach multi-screen audiences.

To work on the creative content that is published on these multiple platforms needs keenness and accuracy, which also takes time.

Fake news and misinformation circulating

This election is a great test of the gatekeeping strengths of media houses. Kenyan media is constantly reminding audiences that we are getting data from the IEBC. We are also reporting preliminary results as per the IEBC guidelines.

Politicians have deployed bloggers who are selling narratives that suit their side as tallying constinues. As a rule of thumb, the media must adhere to the basics of journalism - verification. This is the time trust plays a key role for a news brand. Any inaccurate information will have an impact on the reputation of a media house. As Kenyans anxiously wait for the final tally, all eyes and ears remain on which media will win that TRUST.