INDABA Newsletter | August 2011
This month's National Press Club networking forum will be hosted by the National Press Club.
When: Thursday, 28 August 2011
Time: 18:00 for 18:30
We look forward to seeing you there.
Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa.
Club continues to host newsmakers
The National Press Club continues to host newsmakers on a regular basis. On 24 July Jimmy Manyi addressed the press club.
On 29 July the Minister of Police, Natho Mthethwa addressed the press club on the programme of action following the recent summit on police killings.
There is a snake in the grass
(Hint: It is not City Press editor Ferial Haffajee.)
Avusa’s reaction to the furore over Eric Miyeni’s offensive column should be applauded just as acting editor Len Maseko’s resignation and the discontinuation of Miyeni’s column was welcomed.
But let’s not forget that Avusa had some motivation to do so. This was after all strike three for Avusa – first the David Bullard debacle in the Sunday Times and Kuli Roberts insulting coloured women in the Sunday World.
In both cases, just as with other embarrassments like Deon Maas’ satanism column in Rapport, the columnists were promptly axed with their editors claiming indignation, but with their salaries and positions intact.
This time around, several organisations like Media Monitoring Africa and media role-players openly called for heads to roll.
Outgoing Rapport editor Liza Albrecht put it simply on Facebook: “Fire the columnist = fire the editor”.
Former The New Age editor Henry Jeffreys agreed on social networks, but urged caution about “sacking people because they have atrocious ideas”.
Haffajee herself said in an interview on Sunday that she would not have sacked Miyeni (“columnists should be edited, not sacked”), but would have resigned like Maseko.
Asked whether Avusa editor-in-chief Mondli Makhanya, who was Bullard’s editor at the time and also at the helm of the group with the Roberts column, shouldn’t rather resign, she said: “It is not my place to criticize another media group.”
Yes, well, fine.
An investigation into the editorial process that didn’t intercept Miyeni’s column was promised. Just like the editorial review of the Sunday Times commissioned by Makhanya which made some damning findings on how us journalists manage the production cycle of newspapers. To add insult to injury, it had to be leaked before it ended up in the transparent public domain.
If we as the media want to retain (or regain) credibility in our own checks and balances, the findings should be communicated this time.
Until then, many will remain convinced that Avusa and other media houses will engage in more blame-shifting to detract attention from the real issues. Until the proverbial snake strikes again, that is.
Adam will again blame Eve, Eve in turn the snake.
* Herman works for Rapport, a Media24 sister publication of City Press, but writes in his personal capacity.
New ABC figures released
Despite the total newspaper circulation in South Africa falling by 14 000 copies in the second quarter of 2011, weeklies have outcompeted and outgunned their counterparts (daily and weekend) by far, increasing their circulation by 15% - all in copy sales, according to figures released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC), amid a worsening media inflation that is set to worry industry watchers.
The figures also show that Kuier magazine grew by 108% (all in copy sales), the highest growth of all. "Copy sales mean democracy in sales and this is fantastic. And whatever these guys are doing for their titles to perform so well is not a fluke, but printed in black and white and it should be celebrated," ABC VP Gordon Patterson told journalists late last week at the organisation's headquarters in Parktown, Johannesburg.
Zulu publication Ilanga scored 34.3%, Soccer Laduma 20% and Mail & Guardian 8.6%, emerging as the kings of the weekly newspapers and possibly of all newspapers, in an industry that continues to bite the dust as transportation costs soar by 40%.
Daily newspapers sold 126 000 fewer copies in Q2 2011, compared to 70 000 less in Q1 2011, the circulation watchdog said, adding that digital growth increased significantly, albeit off a small base.
Among the top six dailies listed by ABC in terms of year-on-year copy sales - Daily Sun, Isolezwe, Son (Afrikaans), Sowetan, The Star, The Citizen - only Zulu title Isolezwe showed a creditable growth of 9.5%. Ten titles declined and eight remain static. The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) released its quarterly figures for newspapers and magazines.
Visit www.abc.org.za for the statistics.
The National Press Club welcomes the following new members and hopes to see them at club events soon:
Chantal Rutter – Mnet, Cheryl Uys-Allie -TV Record(Brazil), Michael Lenaghan - Pensioner, Tracy Whitfield - Expat Living South Africa, Nthando Makhubu -Pretoria News and Phenyo Nongane - Phenyo in Media Consultancy.
Vote for Table Mountain as one of the New7Wonders of Nature - SMS "Table" to 34874 as often as possible. Each SMS costs R2.
Photograph of the month
Thabo Malibeng at the recent Sport Against Crime endurance competition in Tshwane. Photographer Alet Pretorius/FOTO24
Please send any news, suggestions or information for this newsletter to Martin van Niekerk at the secretariat on email@example.com,
+27 (0)12 804 5199. Visit the website at www.nationalpressclub.co.za.