Johnny Masilela

Pinning down The BEAT’s average reader


Johnny Masilela   l   Views: 98

The methods used in this exercise cannot be trusted with certainty as a true reflection of what fires the imagination of the reader.

That is, samples used to compose this letter from the editor just cannot be touted as the LSM (living standards measure) profile of the majority of those who read this newspaper.

But for the sake of firing your imagination, let us all have fun and unpack what is at our disposal, for the time being.

Together with the reporters, we have set our focus firmly on the unfolding political narrative, especially with regards to the forthcoming ANC national elective conference.

Our main headline in this regard was the one that read “ANC on the knife edge”.

Without dragging the reporters along with my own judgement, I was convinced this was the one to draw readers in their thousands.

But alas, yes it did – at 103 views on our website – but not nearly as huge as “Suspect found with police uniforms”, at a whopping 243 views. Mind you, the latter was buried on page two.

The Economic Freedom Fighters as a news source did not do that bad either, with “EFF Bobmshell” at 112 views, which was well below “Farm murder arrests” at 199.

Suffice to say both the ANC and EFF stories had the advantage of screaming front page headlines.

There has been some non-front page reporting for the DA in recent weeks, the latest being the story with the headline “DA claims momentum in Bela-Bela”, which attracted a total of 92 views.

And oh, the new boys on the block, the Bela-Bela Residents Association (BRA), had one in recent weeks headlined “Greg Morukhuladi chairs new branch”, which drew the attention of 89 views.

Let us hastily mention that stories based on the mass-based church and also the broader traditional healers’ fraternity, continue to attract views in their numbers and, as we are wont to say, as a newspaper you can never go wrong with the ZCC.

Having said that, two headlines based on Spa Park/ Mountain View, “Flames of fury” and “Tempers boiling at Koppewaai”, showed members of the community in this neck of the woods, do snap up The BEAT as a favourite read.

Teasing out statistics from distribution outlets where The BEAT is on sale, the same picture has emerged.

For instance, the most popular front page headline was “Armed and Dangerous”, published on Friday, 4 August, which was followed by “Worker Power” (Friday, 15 June). 

Now what do these statistics say to one as the editor of a newspaper competing alongside the mainstream at many outlets?

The answer is manifold and complex, in that we seem to be responding to a wide range of interests in this region.

For instance – and I have to take responsibility here – we have ignored at our own peril the festivities ahead of and after the winter initiation season.

Do we really, like our friends in the mainstream, have to wait for an initiation school tragedy before we consider the brethren newsworthy?

My personal take is that pictures from these cultural endeavours can be most striking, too.

Write to the Editor at beateditor@gmail.com or PO Box 16 Bela-Bela 0480.

5 months ago       23 November 2017