The Suns on strikes
It was a sensitive judgment call...
Lots of our readers are civil servants...many of them went on strike.
We were keenly aware of this.
In consequence, we went to extreme lengths to give a balanced picture of the
events and from the start we did much to highlight the financial plight of many
teachers and nurses.
But we had to think of our wider audience as well...South Africans in the middle
brackets who were NOT public servants.
At first it was not a problem.
SunReaders sympathized with the strikers and even supported what they were
doing - despite the inconvenience in their own lives.
But two weeks in, the winds began to shift.
And there's no doubt that some of the strikers - and all the unions -
involved were the architects of this, their very own misfortune.
It was the violence and the intimidation - such a TOWERING element of life in
modern SA townships - that turned the tide.
And then the inconvenience factor kicked in as well.
The result became something of a perfect storm for the unions.
In bewilderingly short order, the union leaders found themselves staring at the
bleak prospect that much of the public support was slipping through their
And it's not rocket science to figure out that public support is critical to a
venture like a strike this big.
Here at the Suns, ever-obedient as we are to public sentiment and mood in the
waters where we swim, we had already, and cautiously, started to move our
More and more we were focusing on stories of people who were being hurt by
the strike - kids who just wanted to pass matric, the job seekers who needed an
ID, drivers who needed licences, the ill and injured who just wanted a bit of
hospital care and attention, the old who wanted their pensions to be paid...
This week, as you can see, we did a particularly relevant page
here >>): There was a story about public mood swinging at the
top and a teacher who refused to abandon his pupils lower down.
We didn't go barging and crashing into any of our amended positions...
At Daily and Sunday Sun - as dedicated readers of this, here e-zine know by now
- we charge...like a chameleon...
That means we charge with exquisite care and only after due heed to the way
the wind blows.
In this instance, I think, we got it right again.
Deon du Plessis
about 4 hours ago from SunPublisher, Deon du Plessis