World cup: newspaper editors innovate amid circulation decline


The 2010 FIFA World Cup has been the biggest South African news story so far this year. The tournament dominated media coverage over several months, both in the build-up to and during the actual event. Newspapers sat between a rock and a hard place during the world cup, as television ruled with its live broadcasts and online was first with live commentary, opinion and blow-by blow recounts.

In this country, online news doesn’t do a lot of investigative journalism – it’s the obvious niche if you are a newspaper man defending your circulation from online’s straight-up reporting and opinion. National weekly Mail & Guardian took this approach, one that editor Nic Dawes describes as dancing SA’s complicated rhythm and which combined vigorous investigation with some flag-waving, nation-building and partying. Others, such as KwaZulu-Natal’s The Mercury, grabbed the opportunity to think outside the box and re-engage with visual journalism.

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