By: Lindokuhle Mnisi
|One of the front pages of Daily Sun newspaper.|
Daily Sun is the biggest daily newspaper in this country, South Africa. It is the most widely circulated South African newspapers. With between 376,743 and 400,000 sales in Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, and Northwest provinces, the national expansion of the paper to KwaZulu-Natal, Free State and the Eastern Cape will add to the existing circulation. Daily Sun targets readers in and around the major urban centres of South Africa. These readers are predominantly black, English-literate with a high school or greater education, and working-class earners - the economic core of South Africa.
While a lot of people seem to have negative perspectives about this daily newspaper it still remain to be, among, the top selling and circulating newspaper. It covers a wide range of issues like any other newspaper but the manner in which the present their stories is unique. Their stories vary from politics, lifestyle to sports. And it then dwell much on the African stories that people choose to rather call it “superstitions”.
The target market of Daily Sun is a single mother from the township who works as a domestic worker, people is LSM four or less even those unemployed. They talk to the people direct by writing about those things that other newspapers don’t want to cover. Daily Sun has given ordinary people something to keep them entertained. Their usage of language is user-friendly, they write simple English. Anybody can read it; it is something that very body talks about on the taxis.
One of the people whom I ask about the Daily Sun spoke about what he regards as “superstition” that the newspaper covers. He says even though he doesn’t believe in them but he acknowledges the fact that they exist especially in Africa. “Daily Sun is a newspaper that reports on human stories. News are stories that are met with a “whoa” reaction from audience. People have fantasies and any media house that entertains such receives people’s interests. The problem is that some of us are not fond with superstitious beliefs even though we know they exist. The nihilism approach, that is (sic)”
This newspaper has its unique way of writing headlines for their front page stories and other stories. They write in an attractive and sensational manner. Sometimes they over exaggerate on the headlines, before you read the story you already have a certain impression. In most cases the story (content) is not what the headline says. I saw a headline that say “SON MARRIES HIS MUM” and when read the article it was talking about the traditional beliefs in the family. If the mother of the children was never married to the husband before he died, one of her sons have to marry her (ritually) so that the ancestors can accept her in the family. What is more hooking about the story is that the picture they used is the son and his mother are dressed in a manner that anybody can see that they are getting married (Suit for the son and a wedding white dress for the mother).
Among the people I interviewed, a lot of them have complained about the paper’s usage of pictures. Some say some of those pictures are not clear “it’s like they were taken with a cell phone” and some “scary to children.” While some suspects that most of the stories written on the newspaper are created by the journalists just to feel up the paper, “This is a 32 pages daily newspaper and it is always in stores selling. Some local newspapers are weekly but but only 4-8pages, where do Daily Sun get all these stories every day? Some are not factual.”
In Mpumalanga there are many people who buy and read the Daily Sun on a daily basis. This is because they are mostly exposed to it than any other newspapers. The province is big and consists of many rural villages where the circulation of other newspapers doesn’t meet the masses. And some of the newspapers are expensive to the people and Daily Sun is the cheapest of them all. They prefer buying and reading it to get stories about the country. Some people don’t even have the knowledge capacity of analysing the content because they can’t even do comparison with anything else, the Mpumalanga News is cheaper than daily Sun but it is only sold in Mbombela and the nearby areas. They just read what they can afford to buy.
In Limpopo most people read the Daily Sun because of the nature of African life they are exposed to. Limpopo is stereotyped as a province which is full of witchcraft and most of the reports based on that are about people from Limpopo. People want to read which Sangoma was burnt over the weekend and which Tokoloshe raped which granny last night. That’s the reality of the matter. While some people might think such things do not exist, there are people who are vocal about their experiences and elders know. That is why most people who buy the Daily Sun in rural areas are older people. Those who are sports fanatics also buy the newspaper for only the back pages, to read which teams were playing and how it is analysed.
KwaZulu-Natal is a province that still has people who are active in terms of culture and traditions. These are Zulus who respects their ancestors and still comply with the laws. They buy the newspaper to get more insight on what is happening around the world. They are again politically motivated so they want to read more about what is going on in terms of politics. The local newspapers like Isolezwe don’t reach the stories that happen in other provinces, so the Daily Sun as a national newspaper bring all the reports on their fingertips.
In Gauteng Daily Sun is not selling like in the other provinces. The reason is that most of the national newspapers are published in Gauteng and circulation starts there. There are other Tabloid newspapers like Sowetan, The Citizen, The Times and the latest The Star Africa Edition. So people in the Gauteng province are more modernised and analyse things differently. People prefer buying these other newspapers because they appeal to them. They speak about issues that affect them directly. Another significant point is that the people in Gauteng afford the expensive newspapers that the rural people do not. Elders like grand fathers and grand mothers still continue to buy Daily Sun because of being attached to it.