Threat to journalism jobs intensified by Covid-19 impact 

Some of South Africa's longest-standing magazine titles are closing down.

Newspaper company Caxton & CTP Publishers & Printer announced plans to stop publishing its magazines. The decision was made by the company’s board of directors due to dwindling advertising revenue exacerbated by the Covid-19 lockdown. According to Fin24, Caxton employs about 250 people in its magazine division in which titles like Bona, Country Life, Essentials, Food & Home, Garden & Home, People, Rooi Rose, Vrouekeur, Woman & Home and Your Family will soon be no more if they’re not sold to other publishers. 

This is the second big blow to South Africa’s magazine publishing landscape in as many months after associated Media Publishing, which is one of the country’s most well-known independent media houses, announced last month that it would close down on 1 May. 

Magazine titles like Cosmopolitan, House & Leisure, Good Housekeeping and Women on Wheel - and the jobs associated with their production - have met their end. Meanwhile, the Daily Sun which announced on 4 May that it would only publish physical copies in four provinces -Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West - and would only be available elsewhere in a digital format .

In a recent interview with Moneyweb, WITS university journalism professor Anton Harber said the decline of the magazine industry was consistent with the global trend in which journalists and the practice of journalism were under threat. 

“We should all worry about the fact that, at a time when we have the pandemic of disinformation on top of the health pandemic, we are going to have fewer people who do the fact-checking, the verification, and the editing and the contextualisation, he said in the Moneyweb interview.