Political editor for Business Day, Karima Brown, will be leaving BDFM to become the deputy editor of the new national daily, the New Age.
This was confirmed in a press statement from the editor, Vuyo Mvoko, on Wednesday afternoon.
No other appointments have been made at this stage, although several names have been mentioned as contributors, including writer Ronald Suresh Roberts, political commentator professor Adam Habib and Proteas’ captain Graeme Smith. former Miss South Africa Claudia Henkel will be the lifestyle editor.
According to Mvoko, Brown was “very excited” about her new appointment. She said: “It is a daunting task but it is also an exciting one, and I believe the New Age newspaper will bring increasing diversity to the media landscape in South Africa in both content and ownership.”
“The New Age will be about excellence and we will be involved in the critical conversations about the country, its progress, its successes and its many challenges”, she added.
When contacted by the Mail & Guardian, Brown said she had “nothing more to add” to the statement.
Brown was an anti-apartheid activist during the 1980s and worked in local government and urban policy research before joining the South African Broadcasting Corporation as a radio producer in 1995. She spent two years working for Radio Sonder Grense and moved over to SAfm’s morning programme, AM Live, in 1997.
In 2004 Brown left the national broadcaster to work for Independent Newspapers as a political correspondent. Two years later she joined Business Day as the publication’s political editor, writing a weekly column, opinion pieces and feature articles.
Brown is known for her political commentary and analysis, and was allegedly on the list of commentators that former head of SABC News, Snuki Zikalala, did not want consulted for the public broadcaster’s programmes.
Earlier this year Brown was part of a group of political journalists who laid a formal complaint against the ANC Youth League’s spokesperson, Floyd Shivambu, for allegedly threatening to leak information about the journalists’ private lives.
The New Age is funded by the Gupta Group, which has close ties to the ANC. Former minister in the presidency, Essop Pahad, is one of two directors of TNA Media, which owns the paper. The other is Lazarus Zim, who sits on the boards of several big-name companies.
According to Pahad, the paper will be “constructive but critical” and cover the “good stories” coming out of provinces that had been “painted by the media” as having no stability or service delivery, like the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, and North West.
At the newspaper’s official launch last week, editor Vuyo Mvoko said the paper would “differentiate itself by presenting the widest range of information in a bold, accurate and balanced manner”.
The paper will be a 32-page narrow broadsheet published Sunday to Friday, and would cost R3,50.
On Brown’s appointment, Mvoko said it was “an indication of the calibre of journalists” they are hiring and that “she brings both integrity and a wealth of experience to the newspaper”.
“The New Age is going to seek the best people in the field and this is an indication of the newspaper’s commitment to excellence,” he added.
Brown begins work on August 2.