South Africa’s Mail & Guardian goes digital first, warns of possible retrenchments



The Mail & Guardian, one of South Africa’s largest independent news organisations, is set to adopt a digital first approach. And while the news will probably be welcomed by people in the tech space, it is likely to come with retrenchments.

In an official statement released today, the organisation announced the restructuring. The move, it says, is part of move its towards a wholly converged operation.

M&G Media chief executive Hoosain Karjieker said that the company’s “digital first” philosophy would inform the restructuring efforts and that recent appointments had been made in line with that philosophy.

He added however that it would mean that around 10 positions could be made redundant because of the changes. While that suggest some jobs might be lost, it also looks like re-training people for other positions is a possibility.

Newly appointed Mail & Guardian editor Chris Roper reportedly said that taking the organisation from a legacy print business into a digital media one would require a total re-engineering of resources and staff.

“It’s an exciting enterprise for journalism, as well as a necessary one.”

The move seems a fairly natural fit for the paper, especially given that it’s had an online presence since 1994 and was one of the first internet news publications in Africa.

The company claims to have experienced fairly substantial digital growth over the past few years, including a 60% growth in audience for M&G Online and a 2 000% growth in people assessing its products from mobile devices.



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