South African newspapers have remained resolute even in these times of much competition from websites, news blogs, and other online news sources.
Newspapers in South Africa began the history of media in South Africa itself, dating back to late 1880s. The papers have gone through much evolution, and they have been with the country through its bitter history. Most of these newspapers played a significant role in ending apartheid and the freedom of the country. This is like newspapers have done in all places of oppression and injustice.
Throughout the apartheid period and even after, the press in general, and newspapers most especially have suffered much oppression and persecution in the hands of the powers that be. This is as a result of their boldness in taking stance and voicing out their opinions.
While of course there are some pro government newspapers in South Africa, the entirety of the newspaper industry has not failed in its role as watchdog.
There are around 50 newspapers in South Africa. While some have a national outlook, others are provincial. There are others that have a more limited audience, covering specific cities and towns.
A majority of the newspapers in South Africa are in English language. There are however, others in Zulu and Afrikaans languages. The most popular of the English newspapers are Sunday Times and Daily Sun. Rapport and Die Son daily are the most popular Afrikaans newspapers. Isolezwe and Ilanga remain the most popular Zulu newspapers.
Most newspapers in South Africa are published by Times Media Group, Media24, and INMSA. There are other smaller publishers like Caxton, Town Press Publishers and Canvas Media.
All the newspapers in South Africa, account for over five million daily circulation. Sunday Times and Daily Times are among others, enjoying the most massive patronage. Some of the papers aim at a national audience, while others aim only at a province or some segments of the population. Also, while some of these papers are daily, others are weekly. Papers like Business Day in the country are specialized.
Newspaper consumption in South Africa is not only limited to the elderly as it cuts across to include even the young. With the production of newspapers also in more than English language, papers in the country give opportunity to those that do not understand English language to get news.
There is protection for newspapers and press in general in South Africa. This has given them a free hand to castigate the government as well as to cover and report what they deem necessary. Their activities however, are guided by laid down media laws.
Because of a great shift towards internet and the concentration of so many people online, South African newspapers have joined their counterparts in other parts of the world in the use of internet. Although it is evident that the era of newspapers online has stunted the growth of print newspapers in South Africa, it has not taken it off market.
Today almost all newspapers in South Africa while maintaining the traditional publishing method, still have different sites and blogs. The major South African newspapers on the internet include Sunday Times and Daily Sun. This could probably be because they have a history that people trust.
There are many more South African newspapers online than offline. Some of these online newspapers run as blogs and websites. Such include Iafrica online newspaper, The Goodnews, and Moneyweb online newspaper.
Most of these online newspapers enjoy massive patronage. They also enjoy contribution from South Africans in the form of commenting and sharing same. This has both kept the papers in check and it has as well encouraged them.
The popularity of newspapers online in South Africa is as a result of the convenience associated with it. The variety of news it presents, timely updates, and easy and cheap access to internet, has helped its popularity.
internet has not only provided cheap news for readers, it has provided cheap avenue for production and distribution for newspaper organizations.
There is hardly any certainty as to the future of newspapers in general in this era on internet. This is mostly because in the past, people have been certain that the moment internet comes and people get fed news online, coupled with radio and television, newspaper business will fold up. This has turned to naught. Newspapers that were before the internet are still active and more are still coming up.
It will be safe therefore to say that newspapers in South Africa still have a future until something better than internet comes on board.