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News coverage diminishing due to media cutbacks, laments Prof Anton Harber

9 July 2020 10:59 AM
Tags:
Job cuts
Media
Jobs
Professor Anton Harber
retrenchments
media industry
news coverage

Journalist and Wits professor Anton Harber says he's already noted a decline in the quality and range of news coverage in recent months.

Prof Harber says the capacity of shrinking newsrooms to cover stories, particularly local news, is diminishing under the pandemic.

RELATED: Covid-19 economic impact a heavy blow to SA media houses

He says job cuts in the media industry, particularly print media, will have negative impact on local and community news coverage especially.

"It's very concerning for the long term state of our democracy", Harber cautions.

RELATED: Union 'shocked' after SABC serves employees with retrenchment notices

You see less and less reporting, exposé, or daily coverage of the courts and of Parliament and local government that is so critical to the functioning of our democracy and the building of our society.

Prof Anton Harber, Caxton Professor of Journalism - University of the Witwatersrand

For the country as a whole, the concern is that the loss of journalism jobs, as it spreads to other parts of the media because of the loss of advertising, means that we are already seeing a diminishing in our coverage of day-to-day matters in the counrty.

Prof Anton Harber, Caxton Professor of Journalism - University of the Witwatersrand

The professor says that the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the decline of the print media industry, which has been in a downward spiral for years.

This week, publisher Media24 announce plans to cut jobs along with several magazine and newspaper titles.

RELATED: Media24 will shut down these magazines and newspaper titles

It's not unexpected, but it's terribly sad. Some of these magazines have a long, rich, important history and very much a part of people's lives.

Prof Anton Harber, Caxton Professor of Journalism - University of the Witwatersrand

It's very sad to see the job losses, but it's no surprise. We know that elements of the media industry, particularly print media, have been in decline under pressure from the move to the internet.

Prof Anton Harber, Caxton Professor of Journalism - University of the Witwatersrand

The pandemic and the economic lockdown has accelerated this process because of the disappearance of what advertising there was for these publications.

Prof Anton Harber, Caxton Professor of Journalism - University of the Witwatersrand

Listen to the discussion on Breakfast with Refilwe Moloto:


9 July 2020 10:59 AM
Tags:
Job cuts
Media
Jobs
Professor Anton Harber
retrenchments
media industry
news coverage

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