24.Com to launch news wire service

By Drum Digital
05 March 2015

Media24's digital division, 24.com, is launching a news wire service next month, it announced on Thursday.

The new service would be called News24Wire with syndication and access being handled by Gallo Images, Media24 said in a statement.

A national reporting team of 16 was being assembled by News24 editor-in-chief Andrew Trench.

The announcement came just short of a month before national news wire agency, the SA Press Association (Sapa), closes its doors.

"The team, led by Sapa's news editor Fienie Grobler, will provide breaking news from around the country, and the wire will be supplemented with copy from the Media24 stable," Media24 said.

"Content from News24Wire will be free to use for all digital publications, and for syndication by print, broadcast, radio and corporate partners."

The news wire would initially be focused on text but would later expand to include images, data journalism and multimedia packages.

Media24's head of digital publishing Lisa MacLeod said: "As a long-serving member of Sapa, Media24 fully appreciates and supports the value of a well-run news wire service, and we have endeavoured to accommodate as many of Sapa's staff and services as possible."

Trench said a fully digital newsroom with bureaus around the country was being built.

"Many of Sapa's former staff, who have the reporting firepower to take our news sites News24 and Netwerk24 to a new level, as well as the experience to help us build our new service, have applied to join us and we are in the late stages of recruiting our team," he said.

News24Wire would ensure that Sapa's daily diary offering would continue uninterrupted. This would be headed by Sapa's current diary editor.

Bureaus were already set up in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban and Bloemfontein and the new wire would tap into an extensive stringer network.

The wire would focus on South Africa, with particular emphasis on breaking news and politics. It would cover business, sport and news from News24 Nigeria and News24 Kenya.

"We are particularly pleased, on the back of the recent debacle around stifling reporting in Parliament, to be able to offer our news free to digital partners, thus ensuring freedom of the press and unfettered access to information for both publishers and consumers of news in South Africa," Trench said.

News24Wire will launch a start-up news wire and daily diary service from April 1.

A press release wire service for subscribers would follow.

"This is a really exciting project and we are thrilled at the calibre and sheer volume of applications we have had from the best reporters and news editors countrywide," said Trench.

-SAPA

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