Abraham van Zyl, CEO of Media24 Newspapers, has informed a number of staff members that some of its foreign bureaux will be closed down. It seems the “current financial situation” influenced the company’s decision.
Lutfia Vayej, head of corporate communication at Media24, however, claims the decision about the future of the foreign bureaux has not been finalised.
According to information obtained by TheMediaOnline, the group’s Washington bureau will be closed down once its US correspondent, Charles Smith, returns. Apparently staff in the group’s African bureaux (Kenya and Nigeria) will be relocated to Johannesburg in the near future.
The recently established Brussels office, which is manned by Leopold Scholtz, will be kept until the end of 2009, when Scholtz’s contract expires.
The London bureau will not be closed down, but the staffers’ terms will be shortened for the sake of “greater rotation”. The term of the senior staffer in this bureau will be reduced from three years to two years and that of the junior staffer from one year to six months.
Media24 is apparently considering the establishment of a bureau in Zimbabwe.
TheMediaOnline posed a number of questions about the foreign bureaux and the financial status of the company to both Vayej, and Francois Groepe, CEO of Media24.
Vayej’s response reads: “The newspaper division has decided to rationalise its foreign bureaux subject to a final decision being made later in the week.”
When asked to clarify the comment, she said, “A decision in the newspaper division must follow an approval process in Media24; this approval process has not been completed.”
Van Zyl was not immediately available for comment. He failed to respond to a message from TheMediaOnline by the time of publication.