After Tiso Blackstar (owner of Business Day, Financial Mail, Sunday Times and Sowetan) announced on Thursday it would sell its media interests to the Lebashe Investment Group, I asked my esteemed colleague Peter Bruce why he thought Tshepo Mahloele wanted to own a newspaper. “Everybody wants to own a newspaper,” he said.

That is probably not true, but the point is well made: newspapers are about influence and most people in business can do with more rather than less of that. But it is clear that owning a newspaper is no longer the commercial proposition it once was. Not everyone is a Jeff Bezos — he now owns the Washington Post — sitting comfortably at the top of Forbes’s rich list and investing for the good of democracy and humanity...

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