This week 24.com announced the launch of its newswire and daily diary service on 1 April 2015. The news follows the announcement of the closure of the South African Press Association (Sapa) on 31 March.
News24Wire won’t be the only newswire service on the block. Two other media houses have announced their own wire services which has given rise to important questions. The most prevalent of which is whether there is a market for three newswires; and why the industry support was not ploughed into one instead of three.
News24 editor-in-chief Andrew Trench says: “We planned to make a significant investment in News24’s original content and journalism prior to the decision to close Sapa. We decided to scale up our investment and offer free news stories to other digital publishers because we believe in the free, credible, independent, real-time flow of breaking news information to both publishers and consumers.”
The key difference between the suppliers is that News24Wire’s content is free to all digital publishers with only accreditation required as per the terms of service.
Part of Trench’s plan required hiring a large number of experienced journalists and editors. The majority of these new positions will be filled by ex-Sapa staff including news editor, Fienie Grobler.
On whether the market can support three newswire services, Trench said: “If this development sees the various newsrooms working harder to put out better stories – faster – it can only work in the favour of South Africans desperate for breaking news that is independent and accurate.
“South Africa is at a political crossroad and it is now more important than ever for the media to be at the top of their game. Competition will play a big role here,” he added.
Trench concluded: “We also believe that offering free quality digital news will allow other digital publishers to invest their resources in creating more original and quality journalism, which will be for the greater good of media in general.”