The New Age 'all systems go'

2010-12-05 11:05

Johannesburg - The long-awaited print launch of The New Age will take place on Monday, December 6.

"It's all systems go," editor Henrey Jeffreys said.

Jeffreys - formerly the editor of the Afrikaans daily Die Burger - took up his position as editor at The New Age on Wednesday.

"It's been fairly hectic this week but I spent time at paper since last week so I don't think anyone noticed that Wednesday [December 1] was my first day," he told Sapa.

The paper will hit the streets on Monday although its Sunday edition is on hold for now.

"Our priority is putting together the daily and getting it settled, he said.

"We will launch the Sunday paper early next year."

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.

Ongoing delays

The New Age was supposed to have launched in September 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 has so far only published online.

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 to attempt 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 would be published by Bennett Colemen & Co Ltd which publishes the world's largest English newspaper, The Times of India.

It would be funded by the Gupta Group, which has close links to the ruling ANC.

Publisher TNA Media's executive chairman 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.

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