New Age newspaper finally hits the streets

The New Age newspaper finally hit the streets on Monday, with editor Henry Jeffreys launching into whether it was an African National Congress (ANC) mouthpiece.

“Contrary to popular [mainly the media] opinion—we are not The New Agent”, read a strapline preceding his maiden editorial.

“...Well, here it is. The New Age has no formal links with the ANC [or any other political party, for that matter],” wrote Jeffreys after conceding it had not been “an easy birth”.

“There is no hotline between my office in Midrand and Luthuli House in Sauer Street.

“We will, generally, support the government of the day, at all levels,” wrote Jeffreys, in a piece on the front page. He however added the caveat that it would also be “constructively critical” and expose bad government, bad business and corruption, and hold public figures to their promises.

It was insulting to suggest its journalists were ideologues or propagandists, said Jeffreys, who was brought in to replace Vuyo Mvoko, who resigned with four other journalists on the eve of the newspaper’s original launch date in October.

He said the paper was also opposed to the Protection of Information Bill in its current form, as well as the ANC’s plans for a statutory media appeals tribunal.

“We support media self-regulation as the only mechanism where a free press may exist and flourish.”

Break from tradition
The 16-page main section led with a story on a “whistle-blower” who claims police had not paid him a R500 000 reward for helping them track down a serial rapist, an article on a meningitis alert in Gauteng, and a welcoming article by Jeffreys, with an advertisements for Capitec Bank.
Other advertisements included those from a law firm, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, Absa, the Free State and Mpumalanga governments, the public service ministry, toptv, CNA and Discom.

In a break from tradition it put celebrity news and horoscopes on page two. Page three led with a report of Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba stalling plans by SAA to make purchases that could plunge it into financial difficulties.

The articles were a mix of politics, news and short features and, as promised, six of the nine provinces had a page dedicated to their news.

News from the African continent dominated international news.

Kaizer Chiefs’ weekend victory over Orlando Pirates was marked with a full-page picture spread that led to a further three pages of sport.

The inside section led with a feature on the “Cellphone price war”, followed by local and global business news, an arts section, provincial pages and a health and lifestyle page.

Cosatu’s 25th birthday was marked with a double page spread of archive pictures.—Sapa

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