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Independent shakes up senior editorial structure

South Africa's largest black-owned media company, Independent Media, on Monday announced significant changes to its senior editorial structure.
The appointments include the announcement of three regional executive editors and changes at 11 of the group’s titles, including six new editor appointments.

The new team announced by executive chairman, Dr Iqbal Surve, seated in the centre, to take the company forward are from top left Aziz Hartley, Yunus Kemp, Adrian Ephraim, and Gasant Abarder. Front - Adriana Senekal and Saajida Francis. Picture: Tracey Adams. Credit: Independent Media
The new team announced by executive chairman, Dr Iqbal Surve, seated in the centre, to take the company forward are from top left Aziz Hartley, Yunus Kemp, Adrian Ephraim, and Gasant Abarder. Front - Adriana Senekal and Saajida Francis. Picture: Tracey Adams. Credit: Independent Media
Adrian Ephraim, most recently Independent Online (IOL) managing editor, is the Group Digital Content Editor as well as the editor of African Independent for print and online. Ephraim’s successor at IOL will be announced soon.

"Africa is not a strategy,” said Ephraim. “We are all a collection of experiences, cultures and points of view. The continent is not so much a melting pot as it is a fusion of all of us. We have been telling our own stories for a while now and it's our duty as the media to let people speak for themselves through the use of technology and solid journalism.

“The trajectory of mobile technologies also demands that we respond accordingly and aggressively in this space. I look forward to breaking new ground at Independent Media as we venture beyond our borders,” he said.

Independent Media’s executive chairman, Dr Iqbal Survé, said: "Mobile publishing is a key focus for Independent Media in Africa and Ephraim will bring his experience and skills as managing editor of IOL and online news editor of Mail & Guardian previously, to grow audience, social media engagement and revenue in a broader market.

“This is a very exciting time for Independent Media and we look forward to Adrian's contribution to implementing our digital strategy.”

Following the departure of group chief content officer Karima Brown in August, a new regional executive editorial structure has been established in each of the company’s key areas of operation – Western Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

Outgoing Cape Argus editor Gasant Abarder is the Western Cape’s regional executive editor, The Star’s former editor Kevin Ritchie has been appointed for Gauteng and former Daily News editor Alan Dunn for KwaZulu-Natal.

Survé said the digital first, print best strategy required the repositioning of the group’s regional titles, and leadership at a regional level would be an important driver in the continued quest for excellence in a rapidly changing media environment.

"The extensive experience of the regional executive editors enables them to contribute to this exercise, as they can focus on the regional titles, spot replication, contribute to quality control of the brands amongst other contributions,” Survé said. “All three of them have impressed me with their commitment to excellent journalism and I am so pleased that they have accepted these strategic editorial positions. I have every confidence in them as they take up their new roles in Independent Media.”

Ritchie will be replaced by Japhet Ncube as editor of The Star. Ncube was deputy editor of African Independent.

Aziz Hartley, most recently editor of Weekend Argus Sunday, has been appointed Cape Argus editor.

He will be replaced at the Weekend Argus by Yunus Kemp, who was acting editor of Independent’s national daily business title Business Report and a former Cape Argus deputy editor.

Adriana Senekal, a seasoned senior financial journalist, will be the group’s executive editor for business content, as well as acting editor of Business Report.

Dunn will be replaced by Aakash Bramdeo as editor of Daily News.

Mazwi Xaba, most recently editor of Isolezwe, will replace Bramdeo as editor of Sunday Tribune.

Slindile Khanyile takes over the editorship of Isolezwe.

Yogas Nair, current editor of POST, KwaZulu-Natal’s niche weekly publication for the Indian community, has been promoted to the position of editor of The Mercury. Her replacement at POST will be announced shortly.

Fikile Ntsikelelo-Moya, current editor of The Mercury, will return to Pretoria to lead the expansion of Pretoria News’ weekend offering.

Saajida Francis has been appointed as the first editor of Independent Media’s new digital youth portal, the Young Independents. Francis is a Rhodes honours graduate with a solid digital background.

“This is an extremely exciting time for Independent Media as we roll out our various offerings for the youth market,” Dr Survé said.

In extending his congratulations to the new team, Dr Survé emphasised the group’s human resources strategy which is driven by a transformation agenda, focussing on employment and gender equity, skills development and training and nurturing homegrown talent.

1 Nov 2016 13:18

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