By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK New Era has within a short period of time carved itself a niche in the Namibian print media industry and there is confidence that it will continue to grow as an indispensable news organ for the Namibian people. This is the view of the Chief Executive Officer of the newspaper, Sylvester Black, who took over the management reins 10 months ago. “As a daily, New Era has become a prime source of information to its growing number of readers, who heavily rely on the newspaper for topical news. In addition, New Era is definitely the fastest growing newspaper in the country, based on its growing sales and circulation numbers and I am confident that this trend will continue until it becomes the Number One newspaper in the country,” said an optimistic Black. He ascribed the success of the New Era to the company’s progressive five-year strategic plan. “Firstly, we are not concerned about our rivals or competitors. On the contrary, some of them are very worried about and envious of New Era’s phenomenal growth as a progressive, go-getter news organ. New Era has come to stay and will remain in the forefront to inform, entertain and enlighten the Namibian nation in line with its mission,” Black said confidently. “Although New Era has been in existence for a number of years, the newspaper never really had the substance and the credibility it enjoys since becoming a daily. It was not considered to be a serious role player or contender within the local industry. The situation has substantially changed for the better and today New Era is widely regarded as the main and authoritative source of local news,” Black stated, adding: “It is further an acknowledged fact that New Era has some of the finest editorial staff and reporters in the country.” According to him, the company has undergone some very positive and innovative changes since he took over. “The most important change to me has been the appointment of very capable people in critical positions within the company, such as in Finance, Marketing and Distribution. The direction by the Board of Directors under the guidance of Mr Vilbard Usiku as Chairperson has also been of critical strategic value. The situation has dramatically improved to acceptable levels, thanks to the presence of these people,” he said. Another critical change was the introduction of proper business systems and controls in the business, as well as the elimination of many system weaknesses which previously led to losses and exploitation. “The distribution of the newspaper on a national level has improved satisfactorily, though there is still room for further improvements. Many rural towns still do not receive New Era, but my team and I are working hard at resolving this in the shortest possible time. It is my intention to make New Era the paper for all the Namibian people,” said the CEO, who also alluded to the fact that advertising revenue has more than doubled in the last couple of months. “Advertisers and advertising houses have gained more confidence and trust in New Era as a strong advertising medium to reach customers. I believe that this trend will continue to the benefit of the company and its advertising customers,” he said. With regard to the newspaper’s social responsibility and its role in uplifting communities, Black said: “Our social responsibility is centred on supporting worthy community projects in kind. We give prominence to many community initiatives on various fronts through news coverage and frequently give free advertising to many worthy causes.” His wish for the paper’s future is that it maintains the phenomenal growth of the recent past.
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