Grubstreet: Many agendas in City Press race row

by Gill Moodie (@grubstreetSA) What’s eating City Press so much that its annual editorial strategy meeting last week blew up into a race row that exploded on Twitter and into the mainstream media after an extraordinary email by editor Ferial Haffajee to staff was leaked to The Media Online?

Latest newspaper circulation figures. Yowzer!

There’s blood on the floor in the most recent set of print sales figures – for the second quarter (Q2) of this year that were released this week by the Audit Bureau of Circulations of SA (ABC) – but there are also titles fighting for their lives, street by street, and even winning back a tiny bit of territory.

There are a few newspapers out there that are actually managing to arrest circulation decline – and not just in the vernacular market.

This tells us that it is possible in newspapers today to be interesting and have meaning to people but you have to think very deeply about how to be relevant and you have to work very hard and be very patient about getting there, street by street, block by block.

This is not a traditional battle on open terrain but difficult, complicated urban warfare.

Pistorius the ultimate litmus test for declining circulation (ABC Q1 2013 figures)

by Gill Moodie (@GrubstreetSA) That SA newspaper circulation is in decline is common cause these days but the latest set of figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations of SA (ABC) figures – for the first quarter of 2013 – really rubs it in.

Consider that we had the biggest, most compelling news event to hit SA in many years – the arrest of Paralympian superstar Oscar Pistorius for the murder of his girlfriend model Reeva Steenkamp in that quarter – and it had little effect on the circulation figures!

While SA web traffic was off the charts in February, our newspapers could not capitalise in terms of sales.

Even Beeld, which is more of a Pretoria newspaper than a Jo’burg one, did not make merry on sales in this quarter despite it serving up the best consistent coverage of the story that happened in its backyard (the murder occurred in Pistorius’ home in Pretoria) with many excellent breaks and exclusives.

Beeld was at 65 645 total circulation in the first quarter of this year compared with 72 599 in the corresponding period a year earlier. Q1 in 2013 was also down on previous quarter – Q4 2012 – which was 66 132.

Maybe the editorial, marketing and distribution departments at Beeld did not co-ordinate on Pistorius – and it would be interesting to know what their returns were in Q1 2013 – and, if so, this is really a publishing failure rather than an editorial one.

When you’ve got big breaks on a big story, you’ve got to make a lot of noise about it – increase the postering and the print run, get the trucks out there early and also get your social-media manager (and you should have one by now: its 2013) piqueing interest. And then you have to keep the exclusive offline for a few hours while you push the papers on the streets.

Public Protector “disappointed and appalled” by the leaking of WC tender report

Kgalalelo Masibi, Spokesperson for the Public Protector, has said that the Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, is “disappointed and appalled by the leakage of the [ provisional] report” into the Western Cape government’s multimillion-rand communications contract with TBWA Hunt Lascaris.

i magazine promises to shake up Sunday paper market

City Press is launching a high quality magazine to be inserted with the Sunday newspaper. The new magazine, i, will be produced for City Press by New Media and the first issue will appear on Sunday, 2 October 2011. It will be distributed with the paper in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal; other regions will follow later.

City Press defends journo as ANCYL responds to ombudsman’s findings

City Press editor Ferial Haffajee says her reporter, Piet Rampedi, has been subject to a general campaign of defamation by the ANC Youth League and its leader Julius Malema. This follows a media statement by the ANCYL (published here on Politicsweb) calling on City Press to take action against the journalist, following a judgement by the press ombudsman.

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