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Change the only constant

FIRST things first. Our most sincere apologies to the market for ambushing our readers and advertisers, as well as other stakeholders, last week with significant changes to our newspaper, the Zimbabwe Independent, without prior warning or an explanation.

Editor’s Memo with Dumisani Muleya

As you might have noticed, we now exclusively in Zimbabwe carry syndicated stories or content in our business section, businessdigest, from the world’s leading financial paper, the Financial Times (FT) published by Pearson plc, a British publishing multinational based in London.

While I personally like the Wall Street Journal, an American financial news publication owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, it is the FT I prefer the most because of its quality and depth.

I also like it more because of my indirect association with it when I was still a correspondent for South Africa’s leading business daily, Business Day, for about a decade.

Business Day used to be a sister publication of the FT as it was owned 50% by Pearson before it divested its shareholding to South Africa’s Times Media Group.
So our association with the FT — which has an average daily readership of over two million people worldwide — is more than welcome.

Hopefully, the relationship will not only start and end with content syndication but include a programme through which our journalists can benefit from training placements at the FT.

The rationale behind these changes is that as the Independent we constantly need to be innovative, improve and sharpen our coverage. We want to increase our market share through more economic, business and financial news coverage as the leading business weekly in the country.

Thus we need to provide further in-depth, cutting-edge reporting and analysis of Zimbabwe’s political economy, which means ensuring econometrics-inclined coverage on various content platforms. The FT comes in handy in this regard.

The changes include a redesign of the masthead and a facelift of the businessdigest to reflect the association with the FT brand.
Pagination has also changed as our leader section will now have two more quality articles on the economy and finance besides the usual three opinion-editorial pieces.

Our interactive feedback section — traditionally the letters page — has moved to page 10. We will continue to introduce new content and columnists with fresh perspectives on the economy, business and politics.

While we need to provide a more systematic and reflective approach to covering issues, acting as a public watchdog in relation to governance, accountability and transparency questions, over and above scrutinising how power is exercised, public resources are used and how markets work, we are mindful of the fact that comprehensive and insightful coverage can only derive from an awareness of the interdependence between politics, economics and financial markets.

The relationship between the political superstructure and the economic base is key because in practice there is a strong correlation between economics and politics. That’s why the performance of the economy is one of the central political battlegrounds.

Basically, economic issues are inherently political because they lend themselves to different opinions and for that reason we have always provided a platform for that as a marketplace of ideas.
Of course, the context is that all over the world, news media are in turmoil, grappling with demands to adapt to rapidly changing technological innovations and commercial models that affect their businesses.

The way we now gather, produce and distribute content is undergoing revolutionary changes which have disrupted old operational and business matrices, including the selling and consumption of news.

So we need to constantly adjust to keep pace with change.
As Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “change is the only constant in life”.

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