IT is amazing to think that the Zimbabwe Independent will be turning nine in four months’ time. How time fl
ies when you are enjoying yourself! We have not exactly come of age — to employ an over-used cliché — but we are proud of our accomplishments to date, especially our contribution to national discourse in business and politics.
We have accomplished this largely due to the support of our loyal readers and advertisers. It is incumbent on us therefore to keep improving our product to offer more quality reading.
The paper has gone through various phases of development in the past nine years from the black and white editions of 1996-7 to the introduction of full colour in 1998. The paper was rebranded in 2001 to assume the current masthead before the introduction of businessdigest towards the end of 2002.
We reach another milestone this year with the promotion of Teldah Mawarire to the post of chief sub-editor with effect from January 1. She becomes the first female journalist to occupy that important newsroom position. She joined us in 2003 and has displayed immense zeal and resourcefulness in page layout and design and updating the ZimInd website. I wish her well in that challenging position we have been struggling to fill since the elevation of Joram Nyathi to managing editor two years ago.
Businessdigest also welcomes Chris Goko as senior business reporter where he joins the hardworking team of Godfrey Marawanyika, Conrad Dube and Shakeman Mugari who have enabled us to secure a lead in covering Zimbabwe’s banking saga.
We are looking forward to another exciting year as we continue to add value to the paper. One way of doing that is to introduce new sections and from next week we will be launching an exciting new product for our international readers and Zimbabweans in the diaspora.
The Independent Auto Trader will offer a platform for the motoring industry to display and market its products including the latest motor vehicles, accessories, parts and services. The full colour section will offer a pictorial classified section for commercial, light passenger and luxury models on sale.
We also promise to provide candid commentary on new models and advice on vehicle purchases. For auto-traders, this is a new showcase worth testing to market your products.
Next week will also see the launch of a new property section to be known as Independent Friday Property. In the past three years, the industry has taken a severe knock from the hyperinflationary environment and the high interest rate regime which suffocated mortgage financing of residential properties and new developments. But there is evidence — albeit marginal — that the sector is rebounding on the back of retreating inflation. In the face of immense adversity new property developments in the form of office parks, cluster houses and new residential areas are taking shape.
The Independent Friday Property section will provide property developers, estate agents and private sellers with an opportunity to display properties on offer.
Again we will offer space for adverts accompanied by colour pictures. We will also work with estate agents’ bodies and property developers to provide a guide to both sellers and buyers.
A bonus to advertisers in our new sections and the rest of the paper is the launch of the digital Zim-Independent next week, which will replicate the print version of the paper but in electronic form. The Zimbabwe Independent will now be available through subscription in PDF format — including all the stories, pictures and advertisements. This is different from our normal on-line version which does not show editorial layout or adverts displayed in the print version and which does not carry all the paper’s stories.
This is an exciting product in that subscribers with Internet access will be able to read the paper on their computers before the paper hits the streets here at 6.00am.
Advertisers are also assured of greater mileage as they can now reach the diaspora without paying an extra cent.
We will strive to provide the electronic paper to the majority of international subscribers earlier than the time the normal Independent website goes up.
An added value of the e-paper is that it can be downloaded in whole onto a laptop or palmtop to be read in areas where there is no Internet access. In fact, once downloaded, subscribers do not need to continue connected to the Internet, which should reduce telephone costs.
The service will also give subscribers the opportunity to download stories, pictures or adverts of their choice instead of the whole paper. There is also provision to blow up text or pictures for easier viewing.
Thus a subscriber travelling out of Harare before sunrise on a Friday can download the digital-Zimind and read it on the plane or at a lay-by on the highway. That’s a bigger read.
We cherish your criticism and advice which has been coming through letters to the editor and the feedback platform on our website. Let’s continue building this product together.