Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tough times for SA community media

By Steven Lang

GRAHAMSTON, South Africa -- Grocott’s Mail, like most other community newspapers in South Africa, has been going through a rough period for the past two years or so. No exact figures have been produced, but it has been reported that up to one third of community newspapers in South Africa have had to close since 2008.

There are two main factors undermining the financial viability of these newspapers -- the economic downswing that has affected almost the entire planet and the growing importance of online media.  The economic crash, precipitated by large scale bankruptcies in the United States, has adversely affected spending on advertising across all media, but has had a particularly devastating effect on smaller businesses that do not have cash cushions to soften bumpy landings.