Govt ads dominate New Age

2010-09-23 14:56

Durban - The taxpayer appears to have contributed to the first edition of the New Age newspaper, which is peppered with government advertising.

Free copies of the 32-page newspaper were distributed at the ANC's national general council (NGC) in Durban on Thursday.

While the first few small advertisements are for privately-owned companies, by page five there is a full page advertisement punting the rate of service delivery by the Free State government.

On page six, there is a half page advertisement for the Gauteng provincial government's Heritage Day celebrations at Maropeng.

On page eight there is another half-page advertisement, this time for the Gauteng Tourism Authority.

The department of arts and culture sponsors the whole of page nine, with an advertorial on, among other things, the success of the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup.

Page 21 is dominated by an advertisement on the department of public works' contractor development programme, which is part of the expanded public works programme.

Page 30 features a half-page advertisement by the department of communications for a memorial lecture on deceased SA Communist Party member Thabo Mofutsanyana.

Company ads

The newspaper does not carry only government advertisements, though. Some of the non-governmental ads are for Cadiz, Sahara, LG, Caxton and Mvelaphanda.

By contrast Thursday's edition of The Star was dominated by advertisements for meat, alcohol and lifestyle items such as furniture and watches.

The front page story of the first edition was headlined "Zuma tightens his grip" and was accompanied by a picture of President Jacob Zuma, who is also president of the ANC, speaking at the meeting.

Page three was also filled with NGC stories.

Free copies were available at all the gates to the exhibition centre, where the meeting is being held.

The people distributing it described it as a Heritage Day special edition.

It contained hard news stories, a business section, and lifestyle and sports sections.

The new daily, which is owned by TNA Media, was initially scheduled to launch in mid-September, but this has been postponed to October 20.

Readers described it as "easy to read".

Professional look

"I read it. It is very appealing. The style and layout is brilliant," said Nsiki Ngalo, a media specialist.

He liked the paper because it carried stories which he said were of interest to South Africa.

"I am happy that there is no story about (celebrity socialite) Khanyi Mbau in this paper. I hate newspapers which carry stories that promote other people's interests," he said.

He was not interested in reading about people's personal lives, and said he did not like to see half-naked women in newspapers.

A television reporter said the newspaper looked like British newspapers.

"It looks professional and it looks different from other local papers."

The newspaper will sell for R3.50.

Former minister in the presidency Essop Pahad is a board member of the publication.