Peter Bruce Columnist

People complain about the media a lot. There’s something about it that irritates them, disappoints them. They think it’s because of bias, or ignorance, or malice or whatever. They think this outlet is better than that one, or this website better than that. This reporter better than all the others. But what they may not know is that something important disappeared from SA media on March 31, 2015, almost four years ago to the day. That was the day Sapa, the SA Press Association, our only national news agency, closed down after 76 years of providing a straight, and often really good, news service to all the country’s newspapers and broadcasters. It was funded by its clients who, as their own profits came under pressure, decided to close it. The thinking, I remember in my own company, was that we could manage without it. I remember, to my lasting shame, agreeing. But the fact is Sapa was providing something we did not appreciate. It was the heads-up of first resort. Every news editor on...

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