With a Master's degree in Journalism and over 25 years in the news industry, John Bailey is eNCA's managing editor. He has earned his stripes through many roles over the years within news. His love for journalism together with a broader skill set, including multilingualism, leadership and relationship building, has led to him being a part of various news environments around the globe. One of the highlights of his career was his stint as eNCA's Bureau Chief in China, but he sees his current role as surpassing this.
You're the managing editor at eNCA. Could you briefly explain what your role entails?
I’m ultimately responsible for all editorial content that’s flighted on eNCA. To that extent, I provide the vision, strategic objectives as well as short, medium and long-term planning for the channel. It’s my responsibility to ensure that our editorial teams implement journalism’s best practice and top-notch content.
How long have you been in this role, and how did it come about?
I was appointed on 1 August 2020. Before that, I was content manager and also national head of assignments for eNCA.
Growing up, what did you want to be?
I had different kinds of dreams and aspirations growing up. I’ve always had a love for books and reading. I grew up during apartheid and became politically conscious about my surroundings at a young age. I’ve always been curious about things. We always had newspapers in our home and radio was our constant companion. With many newspapers and publications banned during the State of Emergency in the 1980s, I was fascinated with how journalists were able to get their stories out, despite the restrictions. My love for journalism, news and communication, is in my blood.
I absolutely love media in general and journalism in particular. It’s what makes me tick. No two days are the same because there are countless moving parts that I have to hold together. A broadcast news platform runs on agility, speed, accuracy and balance and I experience an adrenalin rush when all of this happens simultaneously, which at eNCA is a daily occurrence.
What’s really behind your mask - literally and figuratively speaking?
I’m an open book. What you see, is what you get. I’m more than happy to engage people on a variety of topics and I’m always willing to learn new things. Generally, I’m an optimist, with a healthy amount of cynicism. I’m dedicated, analytical, a workaholic, pragmatic but also impatient.
You've been in the news industry for over 25 years. What are your biggest highlights?
I’m fortunate that I’ve experienced a lot during my career…mostly good, others not. I’ve interviewed all our democratically elected presidents; I’ve travelled to just about every continent; I was the first foreign journalist to interview Chinese President Xi Jinping; I’ve got an extensive network on the African continent, Asia and Europe; I’ve learnt different languages over the years which helps me to understand people/cultures better.
What's a typical work day routine?
There’s no typical work day for me. It doesn’t exist. My first meeting is usually my diary meeting in the mornings. After that I have various responsibilities that require my attention. I’m not really someone for routine work. As a result, I often end up doing 12-14 hours of work per day.
Where are you based during lockdown?
I'm based in Johannesburg.
When you're not busy working, what do you do? How do you socialise these days?
I enjoy keeping fit. When possible, I go for long walks with my family, otherwise I put on my running shoes and hit the streets. I can’t socialise much because of Covid-19.
Are you watching any series? Reading any books at the moment?
I don’t have much time to watch series. The last series I watched were Game of Thrones
and Breaking Bad
. I’m currently reading V.S. Naipaul’s A Bend in the River
2021 has just begun. What's next for you?
I’m not someone for new year resolutions or anything of that sort.
From a professional point of view, I want to ensure that eNCA is the most watched television news channel in the country.
I want to improve our news offering for our audience; ensure our staff improve their skills and grow our market share.