In June, more than 13 million unique users turned to News24 for the truth. Since the coronavirus hit our shores in early March, our audience has almost doubled. On any given day, we now have around 1.5 million unique users reading News24's journalism,” says editor-in-chief, Adriaan Basson.

The main reason why the publication’s readership almost doubled is because South Africans are on the hunt for reliable, trustworthy and authentic journalism. Although the publication is going to start asking for a subscription fee, it is offering a freemium paywall, which means that it will provide some of its content for free — specifically, content that looks at breaking news and news that will affect all South Africans.

News24 “understands that not [everyone is] in a position to take out a subscription; [therefore, it] will continue to publish breaking news in the public interest for free,” says Basson. This will allow people who are not financially able to pay for a subscription to still read important content.

There is a lot of debate of whether or not print media is dead, however, Basson says that “we cannot let quality journalism die with paper and ink”. And that’s why they are working on building “a sustainable model for quality, digital journalism.”

Basson also highlights the importance of local newspapers, asking "who will cover the magistrates' courts, town councils and police stations if we no longer have regional and local newspapers?" This reminds the readers that investing in quality journalism will ensure that the media industry can stay afloat and continue to provide readers with vital information that affects their day-to-day lives.

It’s also important to note that in print media, news was given freely (or at a very small fee) to the public due to the support of advertising revenue. However, gone are the days where they will survive merely on this revenue. “A new model simply has to include some form of reader revenue,” says Basson

Consumers are starting to become more aware of the fact that they can’t run to social media for reliable and high-quality news. This is simply because of the prevalence of fake news and clickbait designed to get a reaction and clicks from audiences. Investing in a subscription to support local newspapers and magazines will ensure the longevity of quality journalism and allows for reliable news.

The paid subscriptions will definitely be a trial and error process, but News24 has been a trusted source for South Africans for 21 years. With the new sustainable module in place, the publication can, hopefully, continue to share insights into politics and current affairs for South African audiences.

Would you take up a paid subscription for quality journalism? Let us know in the comments section below.

We see you’ve enjoyed our content right until the end. To get more insightful stories, sign up for our newsletter.

Do you want to learn more of what is happening in the media industry? Then be sure to read The publishing industry’s struggles continue.
*Image courtesy of Pixabay