After eight years as editor of Pretoria News I bid you farewell
Today I greet you a final time from the editor’s desk at the Pretoria News, a position I have held for the eight years since Dr Iqbal Survé’s Sekunjalo Independent Media (SIM) Consortium bought the SA Independent Media group from its then Irish owners.
My history with the Pretoria News dates back further than that, as this was here, when it was part of Argus Newspapers, that I began my career as a news reporter four decades ago.
Back then we scribbled notes in shorthand, called in stories from pay phones or typed them up on a typewriter in a noisy newsroom. The paper was printed in the basement of the building and came out in the afternoon.
Change has come in leaps and bounds and today a smartphone and laptop are our tools, meetings are virtual and we produce a print edition with editors, production teams and printers are all in separate locations - with the Pretoria News Weekend now an e-editon only.
They say journalism is the “first rough draft of history” and, over the course of my career, I have witnessed an interesting period in our history: from the violent protests that marked the end of apartheid to the democratic transition of the 1990s; the first democratic election, the inauguration of Nelson Mandela; ANC leadership battles, the ups and downs of the opposition parties; state capture, corruption, loadshedding, the Zondo Commission and so on ...
Locally, as a metro reporter I recorded the opening up and development of the city. Our office is are near the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria where my colleague Zelda Venter has covered many high-profile trials, with one that stands out is that of Oscar Pistorius. It is also on the route to Tshwane House and the Union Buildings where we have watched many a protest and procession from our windows.
While much has changed at the newspaper and in the city of Tshwane, some things are the same as when I started and this includes the responsibility we have to serve our community with integrity, providing news coverage that is reliable, credible and fair.
I have had the privilege of meeting many interesting people in Pretoria, from presidents, to premiers and mayors, university vice-chancellors and ambassadors, officials and communicators in government, embassies and the private sector, people involved in NGOs and community forums.
As I hand over to the new editor Piet Rampedi, and the team, allow me to thank those who supported me over the years, in particular Dr Survé and COO Takudzwa Hove, and the many other fine executives past and present across management, editorial, circulation, advertising, human resources, marketing and finance.
Special thanks must go to my respected brother and sister title editors, and the team in Pretoria I have worked with happily for many years: production editor Renata Ford, assistant editor Kennedy Mudzuli, news editor Ntando Makhubu, live editor Damian Paterson, and the reporters, photographers, sub-editors, and office support staff.
To you all and the readers and advertisers of the Pretoria News, thank you for your loyalty and your interest. As I take up other responsibilities in the group, my wish is that you continue to find value in the Pretoria News and be its champions.