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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Having it both ways: balancing market and political interests at a South African daily newspaper
Authors:Wasserman, HermanISNI
Botma, GabriŽl J.ISNI
Year:2008
Periodical:Critical Arts: A Journal of Media Studies
Volume:22
Issue:1
Pages:1-20
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:newspapers
Afrikaans language
ideologies
business organization
Link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/02560040802166193
Abstract:The process of democratic transition in South Africa has brought many changes to the national political economic context within which media companies operate. These changes have also brought challenges for South African media companies to reposition themselves ideologically, with their political-economic interests in mind. Coinciding with these local challenges to the South African media's ideological positioning and economic strategizing was the re-entry of the South African media into the global arena. Heightened levels of competition and the accelerated influx of foreign content have increased the imperative for local media groups to adjust their strategies. Local media companies have implemented several strategies, including restructuring, globalization and commercialization, in response to these challenges. The implications of these macro-shifts can also be noticed on the level of specific individual media outlets. This article examines such a repositioning at the Western Cape-based Afrikaans daily newspaper 'Die Burger'. A mouthpiece of the Nationalist government during the apartheid era, 'Die Burger' had to fundamentally shift its ideological positioning to fall into step with the values of a newly democratic society. This was done by distancing itself from its former political position, and instead embracing a supposedly apolitical market ideology. The shift towards a market-led perspective can be seen most clearly in a management strategy known as 'synergy', a form of strategic partnership which raises questions regarding orthodox journalistic ideals such as editorial independence, and democratic ideals such as equal access to the mediated public sphere. This article aims to establish the manifestation, nature and influence of synergy at 'Die Burger' and its implications from the perspective of critical political economy. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]
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