Popular journalism - the way of the dreaded
tabloid - is clearly where the game is at in SA these days.
At the Daily and Sunday Suns we take some pride in that.
After all, it was WE who started the great game in 2002.
Purists of the old school still sneer, of course, but it doesn't
The average reader in our land has changed from what he/she used to
be in the 1990s.
Different hot buttons - the magic that induces the Average South
African to buy and read a newspaper - have broken the surface.
We push those buttons here on a daily basis...
And in a bleak time for most newspaper circulations, we've still
got the Big Figures to prove it.
And here's another thing: All journalism should be popular... the
alternative would be UNpopular journalism, which seems a considerable
contradiction in terms...
At the Suns, where the game is played the best, we consider
ourselves the aces on the field...
Consider these examples from this week:
On Tuesday the front page showed, in a memorable picture, a
59-year-old woman in virginal wedding whites - and veil - getting married to the
love of her life - except he's been dead since 2006!
Everyone dressed up for the ceremony, there was a best man and
bridesmaids, there was a pastor slipping the ring onto the bride's finger - he
had to do that himself because the groom was lying under the tombstone which
featured in the centre of the picture!
Forget Eskom... forget power tussles... forget the fumbling
national soccer side... THIS strange wedding was the hot button that
so-called Average South Africans were talking about on the day...
Certainly, judging by the interest from radio stations that
morning, this was the BIG one...
And we didn't make the mistake of portraying the amazing event as
fantastical... or as mumbo jumbo.
This was serious stuff.
The bride explained to us - in eminently sensible terms - why she
had chosen to do what she did - and we recorded it all faithfully.
I'll bet every word was read by every one of Daily Sun's
millions of readers...
And then there was Page 4....
The original story was quite mundane, actually.
Some clot of a police spokesman, trying to justify the squad of
blue-light police heavies assigned to protect Julius Malema, gabbled that ANY
South African could qualify for police protection if he/she felt threatened....
Especially when Daily Sun's within earshot...
We advised our readers to apply ... and laid out the EXACT official
procedure to be followed. Our story came complete with Ministerial Post Box and
I hope the worthy minister and his somewhat less-worthy spokesman
get 100 000 inquiries...
And that's not entirely impossible in TabloidLand...
Deon du Plessis
and Sunday Sun