“Die Burger’s almost like Riaan Cruywagen” says editor Bun Booyens

by Gill Moodie (@GrubstreetSA) Media24’s Die Burger joined an elite group of newspapers this year that are showing signs of arresting circulation decline, which is really something to crow about in this grim market.

As sales were falling across the board, the ABC circulation figures for the second half of last year showed that Die Burger – which has Western Cape and Eastern Cape editions (the latter grew out of Die Oosterlig) – was slowing its downwards trajectory. Then in the latest set of ABC figures – for the first quarter of 2013 – Die Burger (Western Cape) netted 51 516 compared with 51 232 in the same period of 2012. It’s Port Elizabeth-based Eastern Cape sister posted 10 721 circulation compared with 10 748 the corresponding period of the previous year.

So stability in a devastating quarter for newspapers, in which the Daily Sun lost 20% of circulation, The Star fell 14% and the Pretoria News shed 12%.

I’m sure the excellent reporting and run of exclusive breaks on the Oscar Pistorius story in the first quarter that Die Burger carried (from its sister paper Beeld) helped to buoy sales. And indeed, Die Burger’s Cape Town-based editor, Bun Booyens, is cautious about singing his newspaper’s praises.

“Let’s be sober about this. I think a lot of these are lapsed subscribers that we’ve won back,” he told Grubstreet last week. “We suffered some real subscriber damage with the Cycad software problem (Media24’s CRM programme that governed subscriptions and distribution). I suspect the gains we made were lapsed subscribers, among others, who we won back – which is in itself encouraging.”

Die Burger’s excellent front-page design pushes visual journalism

by Gill Moodie. There is one consistently excellent stand-out newspaper when it comes to front-page design among South Africa’s dailies – and that is Die Burger in Cape Town. So my ears pricked up when I read that the title’s chief sub, Johnn-Grant Munro, picked up the Standard Bank Sikuvile journalism award recently for lay-out and design.

ABC Analysis Q2 2012: Daily newspapers — Isolezwe breathing down The Star’s neck

The ABC has released circulation statistics for the period April 2012 to June 2012. Total daily newspaper sales in South Africa fell from the 1,386,504 in Q2 2011 to 1,373,377 in Q2 2012.

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.

Shofar, the naked students, and the spin machine

The story has been doing the rounds in Stellenbosch all week but finally made the mainstream press today. A group of male students stripped and stormed the Shofar church in Stellenbosch last Sunday during a service. Some of the students were stopped by the churches bouncers (you heard right) at the door.

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