There is common wisdom that says the only thing that resists change is change itself.
According to this wisdom, change is the only constant.
We are reflecting on this as we present to you an upgrade of your favourite family paper, The Herald, which is Zimbabwe’s oldest publication, born in 1891.
Without burdening the reader with the paper’s history, it is worth remarking that a paper of such pedigree has undergone several changes, from the great staff and personnel that peopled it, through business models and changing content strategies.
In the 21st century, the newspaper — as originally conceived by the forebears of the Press (during the 17th century) and our own forebears as a newspaper — has changed significantly.
So, too, have the demographics, reach and tastes.
The production, distribution and consumption of news and information have changed.
Technology has largely been at the centre of this.
Now, even the consumer of news has become a producer of the same — a far cry from the days when communication was linear and one-way.
There is growth of citizen journalism and social media that poses a significant poser for us, the traditional or legacy journalist.
Legacy journalism is facing a number of challenges. Some authorities are predicting the slow death of newspapers.
(Other pundits, though, see Africa’s newspaper readership growing, due to our own unique developmental stages.)
The challenges occasioned by the change require us to think on our feet in the midst of a maelstrom of buffeting changes.
And one thing is clear: we are no longer in the business of selling newspapers only.
The business is shifting towards the production and sale of content in many formats and across many platforms, with digital providing unlimited opportunities.
We are there already: our parent company, Zimpapers, is an integrated media concern with operations in print, electronic, digital, radio and television — over a dozen of products — making us an unequal giant in Zimbabwe’s media landscape.
To operationalise this, our newsrooms have become converged; convergence being a fairly new phenomenon where content is shared across platforms.
Today we launch an upgraded The Herald with new content and graphic packages.
The content addresses reader interest, with a number of new features and categories that will be seen throughout the week.
In a nutshell, our content is informed by a number of key journalisms: issues-led journalism, solutions-based, future-led investigative journalism, public policy journalism; long form/narrative non-fiction; etc.
Concurrent with the redesign of The Herald and The Herald on Saturday, we have the pleasure of introducing The Herald Extra, which shall be a digital product. It is a product that targets a younger, socially conscious and urbane market whose consumption revolves around information communication technology gadgets.
We remain the country’s most authoritative voice in news and we are key in enunciating Government policy. We already have been critical in mediating narratives around Vision 2030 – for Zimbabwe to become a Middle Income Economy by that year; as well as the Transitional Stabilisation Programme.
Some key features of this new paper include our focus on the stories of the economy, devolution and development, hence new categorization to reflect that.
Our graphics address the aesthetics of the paper, making it a globally competitive publication in outlook but also substantially helping tell our stories better.
We are driven by the need to continuously innovate.
All this should be good news to our advertisers and shareholders as we have created more opportunities for business in terms of seeking to enhance and retain reader satisfaction while also coming with new, and sometimes disruptive ideas, of making more money.
Lastly, we take issues of ethics and responsible journalism seriously in the gathering and dissemination of news.
We remain committed to accurate, fair, responsive, balanced reportage and accountable journalism while giving multiplicity of voices in our coverage, including gender considerations.
The net effect of these changes is to set us from our competion which we already leads.
Source: The Herald