The BEAT, Editor, Johnny Masilela. Photo: TK Mashaba

Dear Mr Editor, herewith my letter


Johnny Masilela   l   Views: 146

The idea of the letter from the editor originated from the era of the previous editor of The BEAT, Bernice Mills.

Three of her most recent letters were popular with readers, especially those with access to the internet.

The letter at the time was issue-driven, rather than personality-driven, as would be the case with columnists at tabloid newspapers such Daily Sun.

The popularity of issue-driven journalism comparable to personality-based narrative, means different readers have their own preferences.

Having said that, when the new editor took over during the month of August, we changed the letter to talk to the workings of our newsrooms, and also relations with readers.

The objective here was to identify a niche market (emergent middle class) and talk to these readers about the behind-the-scenes operations.

We can proudly say this was not a bad idea, as we and the readers continue to empower each other with regards to issues such as politics, and how newspapers work.

Not surprisingly, the most popular of the letters was the one titled “At the coalface of the breaking story”, meaning there is a crying need out there for readers to understand how reporters go about their work.

The second most popular was the one titled “Overshadowed by TK and Ray Phiri”, which had nothing to do with the workings of a newspaper.

We suspect the late Phiri – and TK is a regional celebrity in his own right – raised eyebrows with many of the readers.

Another popular one was “Hello Private Number, and how are you?”

This one was aimed at pleading with especially newsmakers not to ignore our landline calls, but still there remain problems here and there.

4 months ago       13 December 2017