De Wet, the deputy editor of The Daily Maverick, plugged his Nokia N85 into his PowerBook, his Canon EOS 550D fastened to a tripod at his side, and dialled up a connection.
“Anybody hash tag this?” he shouted across the room to no one in particular as he set up his mobile reporting station. “I’m tweeting. Is anybody tweeting this?”
We were not. But no matter. De Wet would. And as the ambassador spoke, the bespectacled 32-year-old journalism school dropout, in his signature crumpled T-shirt and faded Levis, told the 3 730 followers of The Daily Maverick what was being said in 140 characters or less, in real time, while simultaneously monitoring the questions readers were sending through. All while taking notes for the piece he would write and post within the next few hours.
Publications like The Daily Maverick and TechCentral (disclosure: TechCentral is/has been my firm‘s client) are excellent examples of online news sites done right. If this sounds familiar it is because I have said this a couple times in the past. When I look at other SA news sites and compare them to what Branko has done with The Daily Maverick and what Duncan has done with TechCentral, I get a strong sense that those other news sites are just not trying very hard to save themselves from the trend away from print news publications. Their (the other people) online presences are weak and their efforts to force me to subscribe to read their content are pitiful.
My Kindle has me reading more books and The Daily Maverick has me reading more news. Isn’t that the point?