Press Pass: Adriaan Basson on truth, investigation & intimidation

by Carey Finn. The News24 editor-in-chief shares insights into staying strong — and safe — in SA news journalism, where media freedom and truth are increasingly under threat.

News24′s leap into Kenya and Nigeria

by Gill Moodie (@GrubstreetSA) Type in to your browser or and you get a site that looks familiar to the South African eye: it has the colour palette and lay-out of our biggest news portal, News24, but look a bit closer and you see the content is different: about Kenya and Nigeria respectively.

These two sites are, in fact, News24’s great big leap into Africa although they have started modestly and without much fanfare so that they can learn about the two markets that are so different to South Africa’s.

You might also have noticed an isiZulu News24 (that you can go to from the English-language portal) and you get the picture: News24 – which so dominates the breaking-news scene in SA – is on the march, which is interesting considering that Iqbal Surve, Independent Newspaper’s proprietor-in-waiting, has also mentioned Africa and the vernacular markets as key growth areas.

Grubstreet spoke to News24 editor-in-chief Jannie Momberg, who is overseeing the move.

How the Eskom-Billiton pricing discount story was exposed

by Gill Moodie (@GrubstreetSA) One cannot overestimate the significance of Sake24’s recent PAIA win in the Bloemfontein Supreme Court of Appeal that forced mining giant BHP Billiton to reveal how much of a power discount it was getting from Eskom for two of its aluminium smelters.

This was a long court battle – almost four years’ long – and the outcome sends out a strong message that if a journalist – or a member of the public – requests information involving the state and a third party, the request cannot simply be refused on the grounds that the third party can expect some measure of privacy.

“The ruling shows that the public’s right to access information can trump commercial secrets,” media attorney Willem de Klerk, who represented Sake24 in the bid, told Grubstreet last week. “It shows that large corporations doing business with state entities may expect their commercial dealings to be placed under the spotlight.

South Africans embracing mobile apps

The latest download statistics from the Vodacom App Store reveal much about The South African mobile market and its users, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

Paywalls an act of desperation

A move by Rupert Murdoch to stash the content of his global media empire behind a paywall*, and the rather unseemly rush with which any number of publishers desperate for new revenue sources followed him, serves as but another indication that all is not well in the world of media.

TV’s world cup, but real growth for online too

TV owned the 2010 FIFA World Cup. There, I said it. While the Internet increasingly owns breaking news and the various South African news portals came up with numerous strategies for making their world cup content as engaging as possible, it could not even attempt to mimic the vibe of families, friends, even communities, gathering together in the real world in front of TV screens to follow the main matches.

Local media channels see healthy Twitter growth

After jumping from the 5th to the 1st spot on Mark’s Twitter News Ranking Index MyNews24 not only maintained its position but grew its number of followers by more than 450. Radio 702 continued its surge up our rankings from 4th position to 2nd place though in terms of the number of followers it’s not yet seriously challenging MyNews24 for the top spot.

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