Just weeks after the not-for-profit South African Press Association (Sapa) announced it would close its doors at the end of March, three prospective new commercial news agencies have now announced plans to launch alternatives.
The latest media company to broadcast its intentions is Times Media Group, which said on Monday that it will launch a new wire service by the end of March “in a bid to serve its online products and newspapers”.
It will also provide access to third parties wanting “credible, independent and accurate news feeds” on a commercial basis.
“The news wire, which will be sold externally under the brand Rand Daily Mail News Wire or RDM News Wire, will deliver by-the-minute coverage of breaking news from seven bureaus as well as from hubs covering parliament, sport, local government, business and the courts,” Times Media Group said in a statement.
The company’s print newsrooms will also provide copy for the news wire, it said.
The news wire service will be managed by former Sunday Times editor Ray Hartley and will be edited by Juliette Saunders and Dominic Mahlangu.
News of Times Media’s plans comes just days after rival Media24 announced it would launch a news wire service next month called News24Wire.
Media24 division 24.com said it was assembling a national reporting team of 16 journalists.
“The team, led by Sapa’s news editor, Fienie Grobler, will provide breaking news from around the country, and the wire will be supplemented with copy from the Media24 stable,” Media24 said.
“Content from News24Wire will be free to use for all digital publications, and for syndication by print, broadcast, radio and corporate partners.”
Last month, a new venture backed by Sekunjalo chairman Iqbal Survé and Pan African Business Forum executive chairman Ladislas Agbesi called the African News Agency was announced. It plans to syndicate stories from across the continent.
There was an initial investment of more than R200m planned in the news wire, its backers said. — © 2015 NewsCentral Media