New Zim dailies ready to hit the streets

HARARE – The launch of at least three daily newspapers, including the banned Daily News, has been stalled by delays in the issuance of licences by government, but project promoters have already launched aggressive marketing campaigns to woo prospective readers.

NewsDay, which released a dummy through sister papers, The Independent and The Standard, said it has been “ready to publish for months” but was held up by licensing issues.

“The excitement about the launch of NewDay is contagious and we are actually scared of starting an epidemic,” said Barnabas Thondhlana, who will edit the paper.

Both NewsDay and the Daily News, which was recently allowed to seek registration by a government-appointed committee, are flighting “Coming Soon” advertisements. The Daily News is inviting readers to an information highway in which there is only “one daily newspaper”, while NewsDay is counselling readers to brace for “everyday news for everyday people”.

“When NewsDay is launched it will be the pulse of the nation – Zimbabwe candidly talking to itself,” it said in a welcome message.

The Daily Gazette, to be published by Modus Publications, publishers of the Financial Gazette, has just appointed a group editor in chief to drive its planned daily newspaper.

It has leverage because it is holding a licence issued in 2007 for an evening daily paper, and is tipped to become the first to launch.

But, as NewDay editor Thondhlana says, the excitement on the market is evident. The state-owned daily, The Herald, is sprucing up its image ahead of competition: it now has two daily inserts on sports and entertainment, something that will likely keep its readers at bay because it has little attraction when it comes to political reporting.

The Zimpapers Group, which publishes The Herald, has also just launched another Harare-only daily, the H-Metro, largely reflecting on Harare’s social life.

It was not clear how it had secured a licence for this new project when other independent players have not.