South Africa's leading news channel moves into a new era -
"Give the news impartially, without fear or favor, regardless of party, sect, or interests involved." - Adolph S. Ochs
Those words from the man who took over the New York Times
in 1896 and grew the publication into one of the most powerful and respected newspapers in the world, remain a worthy credo for journalists everywhere. It’s the inspiration behind the formation of eNCA. It remains at the heart of what we do.
This week eNCA launches our new on-air look. We have planned this for months, our aim being to provide our viewers with what they deserve: the top-notch news broadcast they have come to expect of us. This has certainly not been easy on staff who have had to improvise creatively, move studios, sometimes with just a moment’s notice and deal with numerous practical and technical challenges which I’m pleased to say were overcome with aplomb and fortitude. The result is an entirely rebuilt main broadcast studio where anchors will have the freedom to move about and engage with numerous touch screens and a giant video wall. It’ll make our news delivery more contemporary, more interactive, and faster moving.
But the changes happening at eNCA go beyond the on-air look and feel. The station is now 10 years old: it is the undisputed market leader and continues to report on South African, African and international news fairly, accurately, impartially, and without fear or favour. It’s a philosophy we have been re-visiting across all aspects of our newsroom as the new set was constructed. We’ve realised much of our success is built on meeting challenges head-on. Not being afraid to ask awkward questions, taking our cameras to stories that we know will often result in criticism and hard push back. For us, news is what someone somewhere doesn't want us to broadcast: everything else is advertising. This is the kind of journalism we will continue to deliver in the second decade of our existence. In the past this approach was mostly reserved for politicians, those we entrust with political power and our hard-earned taxes. But as our democracy matures, that accountability cannot be reserved only for only those who lead. We should expect more of ourselves and each other as citizens, in our different roles. We need to take more responsibility for the state of the country’s institutions, and the processes which make South Africa a democratic society. This includes voting but also cherishing the values of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution as living documents, respecting the rule of law, safe-guarding the freedom of the media and focusing on human dignity across all spheres of life.
As a news broadcaster, we know part two of our journey will be even more difficult. Audiences today have far more choice in a fragmenting television environment. My promise to the eNCA community is that despite the changing nature of news consumption, we will continue to rely on what has made us successful: quality news that reflects the complexity of South African society, always mindful that we are a voice for ordinary people and their daily struggles.
As we move into our next chapter as a channel we recommit to news without fear or favour as we showcase South Africa in all its complexity and splendour. Accountability and humanity are two words we use and will continue to use in our newsroom.
From 16 July, we offer a new look, new shows, key interviews with leading newsmakers and a slew of hard-hitting investigative pieces. There are also many new faces on air. Dynamic and talented young reporters hungry to be on the news frontlines. Anchors whose job it is to deliver a flawless product and make sense of the story. We’re also lucky at eNCA to have a group of experienced journalists who bring wisdom, institutional memory and mentorship into the mix. Our challenge and one I commit to keeping, is making sure the momentum is sustained and that we keep our viewers interested, informed and, from time to time, even amused.
After all, we do this for you. We wouldn’t have it any other way.