Employees, media shocked by reported imminent closure of Media24’s key print publications

Media 24 newspapers.photo by Simphiwe Mbokazi

Media 24 newspapers.photo by Simphiwe Mbokazi

Published Jun 14, 2024


A Moneyweb report which revealed that Media24 could be shutting down some of its key print publications due to declining circulation figures has left the South African media industry shaken.

On Wednesday, it was reported that the media company would be waving goodbye to print publications such as “City Press”, “Rapport”, “Beeld” and “Daily Sun”, with the dreaded axe set to fall sharply in October.

However, employees within the media company indicated that they were not aware of the latest developments, which could have devastating effects on their lives and careers.

“No. We are not aware of this. Neither have we been made aware by the company. If this is true, then it is going to be tough going forward,” said one employee.

Other “City Press” employees also expressed shock and disbelief over the reports, which have now made their way to social media platforms.

An employee known to the publication told The Star on Thursday that she only learnt of the closure of the publication through media reports.

She said when they approached management about the closure of the publication, they were as surprised as they were.

“Management knows nothing about the situation, at least that’s what they told us. Last time when we were facing retrenchments, I lost weight. Little did I know that I would survive them.

“As far as I hear some talks in the corridors, they are planning on shutting down the paper site and leave the digital platform,” she said.

However, according to the Moneyweb article, it was uncertain whether the media company would create individual online brands for the newspapers, as the content is aggregated as subsections of the News24 and Netwerk24 sites.

“City Press” was established by Jim Bailey and the South African Associated Newspapers (SAAN) group in 1982 as the “Golden City Press”. The next year, the word “Golden” was dropped from the title of the newspaper.

After SAAN withdrew and the newspaper faced financial challenges, Naspers took over.

According to Moneyweb, four sources at the media company were able to confirm the latest developments to them, with reports suggesting that only one print publication, “Die Burger” would remain standing.

According to a statement attributed to Ishmet Davidson, the CEO of Media24, the latest development is due to ongoing challenges affecting the media industry.

“Media24 continuously reviews its operations to protect viability and long-term sustainability within the context of its transition to an increasingly digital media landscape. We will also continue to consult with staff about any potential and subsequent actions and remain committed to following due process. We do not comment on rumours or speculation, nor on the details of any internal processes.”

South Africa’s media landscape has been declining over the last decade, including the effects of the recent Covid-19 pandemic which affected industries across the board.

National Press Club (NPC) spokesperson Albie Modise said the club was “shocked” and “saddened” to learn from media reports of the closure of the mainstream print publications.

He added, in a statement, that Media24 was contacted by the NPC, but the company’s response did not provide any clarity.

“The NPC believes strongly that a robust media environment is central to a thriving democracy, and that diversity in our media landscape is what makes our media agile and competitive.

“Should there be any truth in the reports, it would be sad for our journalism and democracy … As a body that represents a wide variety of practitioners in the media and communications space, we would urge Media 24 to engage its staff, many of whom are our members,” Modise said.

The NPC called on Media24 to share information about the matter and to save titles and jobs as far as possible, and where unavoidable, to follow a fair process to limit the anxiety among staff.

The Star

[email protected] | [email protected]