‘Brave and courageous journalism’ under new ‘Witness’ editor Andrew Trench

2013-08-30 00:00

ANDREW Trench has been appointed editor of The Witness from October 1, replacing Angela Quintal who has been appointed editor of the Mail & Guardian.

Trench (42) currently heads Media24 Investigations, a unit which, under his leadership, was at the forefront of breaking and covering major stories such as the police secret intelligence fund, the textbook tender corruption and the Marikana massacre. The latter story recently scooped the story of the year at the Standard Bank Sikuvile Journalism Awards. A special report — Faces of Marikana — is also a finalist in the upcoming CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Competition.

Quintal, who vacates the editor’s chair today, said Trench’s appointment was excellent news for Pietermartizburg, the rest of the province and South African journalism.

“Having launched our Durban and Coast edition earlier this month, Andrew’s appointment is another reason to celebrate.

“Andrew will help ensure that The Witness soars. It’s a great newspaper, with tremendous potential, thanks to a dedicated team and loyal readers. I wish him the very best,” Quintal said.

Trench is a former editor of the Daily Dispatch in East London and news editor of the Sunday Times. Under his leadership, the Daily Dispatch developed a reputation for punching far above its weight by winning every major journalism award in the country for both print and online work. The paper was also a multiple winner in the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Competition for various online projects.

Trench’s interests in journalism include access to information activism, data journalism, civic journalism and cross-platform storytelling. He is a self-taught programmer who uses code in his daily work — his first Android app to provide location-based crime risk information will be available soon.

Trench said his intention is to continue the mission to build The Witness into “the most powerful journalistic force in the region”.

“I intend to build on the hard work already laid down by the existing Witness team under Angela and her editorial managers. We will continue The Witness’s mission to evolve into a multi-platform operation servicing the wider KwaZulu-Natal market through print and digital products.

“But, even as The Witness extends its reach, it will never forget — nor neglect — the readers of Pietermaritzburg who lie at the heart of the paper’s nearly 170-year history and who have given it the foundation to spread its wings.”

Trench promised “brave and courageous journalism that holds the powerful to account”, and tales to make readers laugh and have hope for the future.

“We will innovate and be an example to our colleagues and competitors,” he said.

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