MagLove: The rise and fall of Oscar Pistorius, as chronicled on magazine covers

by MediaSlut (@MediaSlut) Oscar Pistorius is on everyone’s lips and too many newspaper front pages to even keep track of, but he’s also had a history of some other brilliant magazine covers, pre- and post-14 February 2013.

#MagLoveTop10: Best SA covers of 2013 & the stories they tell

by MediaSlut (@MediaSlut) And the no. 1 South Africa magazine cover of 2013 goes to SA Rugby for its August 2013 cover, where it celebrated the massive contribution Nelson Mandela made to SA rugby! It could easily have been done in a cheesy way, but about 40 000 images were used to create this amazing collage of Madiba pictures to celebrate this “Memories of Madiba” issue.

“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.”

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.

‘Nowhere to hide’ – The best magazine covers this week. runs a regular slot featuring the best local and international magazine covers every week. We recognise well thought out, powerful and interesting (and hopefully all three in one) magazine covers and celebrate the mix of pragmatism, creativity and personal taste that created each of them. By media blogger MediaSlut.

“Man. Superman. Gunman.” Oscar Pistorius through the lens of TIME magazine runs a regular slot featuring the best local and international magazine covers every week. We recognise well thought out, powerful and interesting (and hopefully all three in one) magazine covers and celebrate the mix of pragmatism, creativity and personal taste that created each of them.

Aki Anastasiou on Pistorius, Twitter and what social networks mean for media

by Gill Moodie (@GrubstreetSA) If, like me, you’ve been mesmerised by the explosion of tweets on the “Oscar Pistorius” hashtag around the Paralympian’s bail application hearing, then you’re just as fascinated with Twitter – and how it is changing how we cover and consume news – as myself.

Last Friday – the day after Pistorius was arrested after shooting dead his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, I wrote this piece about Beeld being the first to tweet the breaking news and wondering about the role of Talk Radio 702 tech expert Aki Anastasiou in how the news went viral in the Twitterverse.

heat South Africa publishes last (known) Reeva Steenkamp interview

by Herman Manson (@marklives) heat South Africa has published the last (known) interview with Oscar Pistorius’ deceased girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, conducted 7 days before her death.

Andre Neveling, editor of heat South Africa, was a boarding a flight to Johannesburg from Cape Town when he received the news of the shooting death of Steenkamp. His reaction was one of utter shock – his team had a good relationship with both Pistorius and Steenkamp and the couple had agreed to an exclusive photo shoot together scheduled for later in the year.

It was only well into the flight that he realised his magazine might well be sitting on a global scoop. It had secured and conducted an exclusive interview with Steenkamp several days before her death.

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