The New Age has announced that editor Henry Jeffreys is stepping down, and media consultant Ryland Fisher, who had been working at the paper as a consultant with another veteran Cape Town journalist, Raymond Joseph, has been appointed acting editor.
In a statement issued yesterday evening, Jeffreys said it had been a “great privilege to be part of the launch team at The New Age. The paper is well positioned to go forward and I know that I leave a newspaper set to deliver on its potential. I am looking forward to an on-going relationship with the paper as it grows its share of market.”
The story broke on the Mail&Guardian website yesterday under the headline: Wanted: Another New Age Editor. It quoted an insider saying, “They [Fisher and Joseph] wasted no time in imposing themselves. Fisher might get the top job depending on family and relocation issues”.
CEO Nazeem Howa confirmed Fishers’ appointment as acting editor last night. He said Jeffreys had put his life on hold to step into the breach when former editors, Karima Brown and Vuyo Mvoko, walked out just prior to the paper’s launch.
“He placed on hold his Master’s studies and the book he was writing to join us and we always knew it was not going to be a long-term arrangement. However, we needed a professional to launch the paper and Henry fitted the bill,” Howa said.
This was confirmed by a source within the newspaper that said Jeffreys had launched The New Age “against all odds” after Brown and Mvoko left. “In the six months since Jeffreys took over, The New Age has started setting the news agenda rather than following it,” the source said.
“Fisher came in to help streamline production while Joseph was appointed to look at content. The paper is a start up and they were put in place to do whatever it takes to get the paper off the ground. It’s the same old story: the slackers hate them and the hard workers are loyal,” said the insider.
Intelligence within the The New Age says the new editor will have to be tough to take the paper to the next level. “Henry is a nice guy. He put his head down and brought out a daily paper. The next guy will need balls and stomach for what comes next,” the source said.
The source was firm on the point that there is “no crisis” at The New Age. “A capable acting editor has been appointed who fits the newspaper. The newsroom and subs room is being redesigned to new specs, there’s now a proper backbench in place. It’s a different paper now. It’s breaking stories and will be going after ABCs soon. “
Jeffreys will return to Cape Town where his family live. In a final comment on The New Age online he said: “When The New Age was launched on 6 December 2010 after numerous hiccups and setbacks, our many detractors did not give the newspaper much of a chance.
“However, those of us closely involved with the publication, stayed focused and committed to deliver a newspaper which would eventually find its space in the market and add a credible new voice to the media landscape.
“It was always going to be a tough challenge, not least of all because of the severely hostile reception we received from certain quarters. None of this deterred us from our goal.
“We knew that respect is not something you demand, you have to earn it.”
Read Jeffrey’s comment: http://www.thenewage.co.za/blogdetail.aspx?mid=186&blog_id=%20709