Are newspapers dead?

The death of newspapers?

By Anthony Molyneaux

With Independent Media shutting down it’s printing presses on the 31st March 2014, the reality of newspapers dying out is now the latest addition that is falling on our doorstep.

Cape Town Printers in Parow has now taken over the printing of established names such as the Cape Argus and the Cape Times after the cessation of Independent Medias printing press. The rolling pages of print rush by with purpose, producing 30,000 newspaper prints in less than two hours. The entire process is beautiful to watch and efficient. Yet their efficiency is now compared to that of a click of a button. The newspaper world seems to be in an ancient state when compared.

Devin Moss, the cost accountant at CTP, still believes there is more staying power in the newspaper industry than it is given credit for. “Community newspapers and free newspapers, where the companies are getting their revenue from advertising and not from the sale of the newspapers, is still expanding in many areas,” states Moss. 

All over Cape Town, newspapers are cradled by the elderly while the youth cradle hand-held devices. The times are changing and the differences are visible everywhere you look. Are the youth still interested in newspapers?

Catherine Clery, a student from Los Angeles, working in Cape Town says she would read through a newspaper if it was freely available on the street yet wouldn’t go out of her way to purchase a newspaper.

Ray de Freitas, a 24 year old soccer coach from Cape Town also doesn’t buy into the newspaper market and says its far easier to access news from his phone.

Are newspapers becoming a thing of the past, much like bell bottoms and Blockbuster? Or will they stay around serving communities as they have for so long.

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Clark Kent of the Arts festival, Woordfees

Every year Tenswell Hector leaves his corporate job to work in an arts festival for 10 days.

It’s a story of metamorphosis from a dull rather average life adopted by so many, into a life that is closer to their real passion and originality –much like Clark Kent being given the chance to become Superman.

Tenswell Hector, a rousing man from Cloetesville, Stellenbosch, had studied drama and performed regularly at the Breughel Theatre Company, winning a number of best acting awards, before the cubicle world hijacked him from the stage.

After 35 years of working for an attorney group in Stellenbosch, “Tessie”, as he is affectionately known by those close to him, decided his creativity had been suppressed enough and strode out of his confining office job. This transition as a 53-year old man played a massive role in guiding him back to theatre.

In 2011, Woordfees received Tessie as a stage production manager and assistant at the book tent based on his charisma and skills in the industry. He shined, this time behind the scenes with the enthusiasm of his boyish grin and adaptability, winning hearts as he helped out wherever he could.

“It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are from, I respect everyone attending. It doesn’t matter if they are a homeless person, President Zuma or ‘Malemakie’, they are our guests and that is what the Woordfees is all about.”

"After working at the festival, I don't even feel tired"

“After working at the festival, I don’t even feel tired”

A benefit of working at the Woordfees is the chance to see all types of live theatre and Tessie looks forward to a play by acclaimed director Adam Small called “Kanna, hy kô hystoe”. “This play was only performed by and for ‘brown’ people back in my acting days, so to see it portrayed on this scale and to such a diverse audience makes me proud.”

Tessie’s opinion of the predominantly Afrikaans festival is one of pride in his language. He believes Afrikaans as a language is under pressure. The internet and the overruling use of English and slang all contribute toward this. “If we don’t have festivals like Woordfees, we will lose something special about our language,” states Tessie.

After the ten days of creative, outdoor freedom, Tessie puts on his office suit again and returns to his job at Anglo American. When asked how this transition back into reality affects him, he describes his delight as being able to have charged his creative battery. The festival brings him back to life for 10 great days.

Tessie wants to become a household name in theatre management and his work at the Woordfees will no doubt set him up for his greatest passion in life. “I didn’t get what I wanted in the corporate world but what I get out of theatre, is more than money.”