New vision for Cape Times 140 years later

Published, May 19 2016 by Dougie Oakes and Carlo Petersen, Cape Times at 23:00pm
For 140 years the Cape Times has been one of South Africa’s pre-eminent newspapers of record.
We have brought the always unfolding story of our country to our readers in various ways, including by horseback, telegram, telephone, telex, tape recorder, e-mail, smartphone and internet, and by long-hand, shorthand, typewriter and computer.
And, make no mistake, in our rapidly evolving world, there will still be many other ways of recording and disseminating the news.
Our reporters have seen and written about much that we, as South Africans, can be ashamed of. But we’ve also recorded events that can make us enormously proud.

Over the years, we’ve brought our readers stories about riches and poverty, about natural disasters, about pestilence and prejudice, about sporting triumphs, about incredible political changes and much, much more.

Who would have thought, for instance, that when the National Party came into power in 1948 on a promise of Afrikaner dominance and apartheid, that so many of us would see democracy being attained in our lifetime?

There were dark days – and it was tough. And many people went to prison or paid the ultimate price in a long, and often bitter, fight for freedom.

But through the Struggle years, the Cape Times was there to tell their stories. We even told the stories of those who continued to believe in apartheid.

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We have no choice but to transform

Published, 12 May 2016, by Mazwi Xaba, The Star at 14:25pm

Isolezwe’s success has helped Independent Media transform through adding a new and powerful voice, says editor Mazwi Xaba.

There are few things that can leave you with a feeling of more pride than reading your own appointment letter for a better-paying and more prestigious job. But when I was officially appointed chief sub-editor I had mixed feelings.

Excited and proud of course I was, but it also soon dawned on me that I and the whole team would have to ensure that our brand-new newspaper really took off, or we’d find ourselves with a great but empty dream and no newspaper, and no jobs.

It’s now history that Isolezwe was a roaring success from the start in April 2002, from zero to over 100 000 copies within the first 10 years.

All thanks to exemplary leadership by founding editor Philani Mgwaba and hard work by the team with support from colleagues in Durban and other regions of Independent Media.

We had left behind our stable jobs at 100-plus-year-old newspapers, including the Sunday Tribune, in my case Ilanga, and the Daily News.

We were confident, but we needed inspiration.

Nat Nakasa’s sister came out of the blue and provided loads of it to me very close to the launch.
Gladys Maphumulo, a neighbour who lived just across the road from my uMlazi home but whose background I didn’t know, told me about her brother like she had just seen him.

She was so proud of his contribution to journalism and the struggle against apartheid.

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Roller-coaster ride into a new media landscape

Published, May 13 2016 by Sandy Naude, Cape Argus at 10:03am

Under Sekunjalo’s ownership, Independent Media has evolved rapidly, says Sandy Naudé.

A media career largely focused on advertising and marketing across a number of titles and groups found me in the position of general manager of the Cape region for the then-Independent Newspapers, with a dash of digital, when our group was sold to Sekunjalo.

Prior to the sale, Independent Newspapers was mired in cost-cutting and a lack of investment, particularly in digital, due to the challenges faced by our former foreign owners.

Fast-forward to the end of 2013 and new ownership.

Regional management (our silos), where incidentals ordered by out-of-town execs were cost-coded to their regions, disappeared to build the national structure.

Our new company moved into a new space – a South African space – where all readers and advertisers would have a voice and an opportunity to grow their dialogues.

Regional silos were transformed into national structures to maximise sales opportunities and the sharing of projects.

National conferences and town hall meetings brought commercial and editorial teams together with the same objective to transform our business by building our brands and commercial pitches.

A specialist government cluster was formed to handle the specific commercial requirements for the government. Editors collaborated with commercial teams and agreed on innovative styles for advertisers.

The mojo – or mobile journalism – studio was launched and new titles with a focus on vernacular were introduced.

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