New Age editor quits

2011-05-31 19:43

Johannesburg - New Age editor Henry Jeffreys has resigned, the newspaper said on Tuesday,

"The paper is well positioned to go forward and I know that I leave a newspaper set to deliver on its potential," Jeffreys said in a statement.

"In many ways, I am very sad about leaving TNA [the New Age], but I know I leave the newspaper in very good hands."

Chief executive Nazeem Howa said Jeffreys joined the New Age "with the specific task" of launching the paper.

"He placed on hold his Master's studies and the book he was writing to join us and we always knew it was not going to be a long-term arrangement.

"However, we needed a professional to launch the paper and Henry fitted the bill," Howa said.

Howa said Jeffreys had taken charge when the paper needed "strong leadership" and the shareholders and management were grateful for his efforts.

"Henry has chosen to go back his family, his studies and writing his book. We are very happy that he will continue to write his column for our paper and deliver on ad hoc strategic projects as time allows," said Howa.

Jeffreys said he worked closely with senior editorial leaders and consultants, Ryland Fisher and Raymond Joseph, to drive the newspaper to the "next level".

"I have signed off on our next strategic initiatives. The team is all set to deliver on this strategy and I will continue to contribute to the delivery of that strategy as it rolls out," he said.

Fisher has been appointed acting editor.

Hiccups

Jeffreys was appointed shortly after the sudden departure of former editor Vuyo Mvuko. Jeffreys is a former deputy and political editor of the Johannesburg daily Beeld, where he started his career in the 1980s.

The New Age suffered a few hiccups before it launched, it was supposed to have launched in September last year and again in October but, aside from a special issue delivered at the African National Congress's national general council meeting in Durban in September, it only published online until it eventually hit the streets in December.

The September postponement was because staff felt they were not ready and still had to break in the new technology they had purchased, as well as to train staff. The delay in its October launch coincided with the sudden resignation of five key staff members.

Mvoko, deputy editor Karima Brown, opinion and analysis page editor Vukani Mde, news editor Amy Musgrave and arts and culture editor Damon Boyd all resigned on the same day. The staffers said that out of professionalism they would not discuss their reasons.

The New Age is the fourth mainstream newspaper breaking into the South African market in recent years. Media 24's Nova, Nigerian venture This Day and Avusa's weekend paper The Weekender have all folded.

The newspaper is funded by the Gupta Group, which has close links to the ruling ANC. Publisher TNA Media's executive chairperson is Atul Gupta, while former minister in the presidency Essop Pahad is a director and senior adviser, and former Anglo American SA CEO Lazarus Zim is a director.

- SAPA

Read more on:    the new age  |  atul gupta  |  lazarus zim  |  henry jeffreys
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