This article teases out some of the key drivers that have shaped the character and development of Kenya’s news media over four constructed phases since independence. The article demonstrates how Kenya’s news media are entangled in a complex power structure, which has enabled but also constrained its development. Mapped against the country’s political and economic history, the article disaggregates and traces the development of these media, from their cooption by the Kenyatta state in the 1960s through Moi’s Nyayo republic to the narrowcasting of the polity in Kenya’s 2007 elections and its subsequent role in the reinvention of the nation through its negotiation of an elusive new discourse of political consensus.