Plummeting advertising and the cancellation of live events due to the coronavirus mean storied South African investigative weekly the Mail & Guardian may not be able to pay its staff in April.

The award-winning publication’s editor, Khadija Patel, tweeted on Friday afternoon that advertising was “going up in smoke” due to the virus. 

In a separate editorial, the newspaper wrote that the past week had been “one of the worst we have ever experienced in contemporary times”.

“Right now our income will not adequately cover the cost of producing the M&G. We will likely not be able to pay salaries next month. We know we are not the only ones.”

Advertisers, which contribute about 70% to the paper’s revenue, had been cancelling their campaigns. Meanwhile the group’s live events, which make up roughly 20% of its income, had “come to an abrupt halt”. 

In the editorial, the newspaper asked that South Africans buy a Mail & Guardian when they do their essential shopping and subscribe to the publication’s online.

“Our reporters are doing what they’ve always done — what they were trained to do. They are telling the story of our people, for our people.

“They are applying their insights, relying on hard-won sources, reading hundreds of pages of government documents, checking and cross-checking facts against regulations, against the Constitution, against anecdotal stories, against common sense — all to ensure you are as informed as you can be,” the editorial said.

Compiled by Khulekani Magubane


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