Zimbabwe’s leading Sunday family newspaper, The Standard, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month, amid indications that the paper has strengthened its position on the market with improved content.
BY STAFF REPORTER
The paper, part of the Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) stable that also publishes household newspapers, The Independent and NewsDay, first hit the streets in May 1997.
Over the years, The Standard has established itself as a fearless and hard-hitting publication, the paper’s editor Kholwani Nyathi said yesterday.
“The month of May marks a major milestone for The Standard and the whole AMH family as we celebrate Zimbabwe’s most loved Sunday newspaper’s 20th anniversary,” he said.
“The Standard has a very rich history and has been at the forefront of ground-breaking journalism in Zimbabwe with its influence stretching beyond our borders.
“We continue to build on that firm foundation and in recent months, we have registered strong growth in circulation figures at a time when the newspaper industry has been on a decline.
“As we celebrate this achievement, we would like to re-dedicate ourselves to our founding principles that include shining light into dark places and being a voice for the voiceless.”
Nyathi said a number of activities and events have been lined up to celebrate the paper’s anniversary, not only this month but throughout the year.
“To commemorate this milestone, The Standard will publish a selection of stories dating back to 1997 to remind ourselves of where we are coming from and where we are heading to,” he said.
“We will also reconnect with our readers in a big way by being visible in the communities through charity work.
“We have not only grown in terms of influence but we also have evolved from being only a print publication to a multimedia news platform with a strong online presence.”
AMH managing director Vincent Kahiya hailed successive editors of the leading family Sunday paper. He said they have done a great job of keeping the paper going under harsh economic conditions that begun in 1997.
The paper has survived against the odds as the economy has continued to shrink since the black Friday of November 1997 when President Robert Mugabe approved the unbudgeted once off Z$50 000 each payment to war veterans of the liberation struggle.
“The paper has survived the vicissitudes presented by a failing economy and state machinery that has always regarded private press as foes,” Kahiya said.
“That we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of this great family newspaper is a remarkable achievement for independent media in Zimbabwe.”
The Standard has had seven editors since its founding in May 1997 who each have made immense contribution to the survival of the paper under economic and political turbulent times.
“I want to pay tribute to the founding editor of The Standard, the late Mark Chavunduka, whose arrest and torture in 1999, together with then senior reporter Ray Choto, is emblematic of media repression which has unfortunately continued to this day. Great journalists Andy Moyse, the late Bornwell Chakaodza, David Maruziva, Walter Marwizi and Nevanji Madanhire all at different episodes led this paper and their contribution is greatly valued,” added Kahiya.
The AMH boss further said as a thank you gesture to the past editors, the paper would, starting today, have some columns named after some of the past editors.
He thanked readers and advertisers and other organisations that have shown great commitment in supporting the newspaper since its formation.
“I want to thank readers, advertisers and media advocacy organisations who have walked with us in this journey from the formative years to the current digital era when our footprint has become global,” said Kahiya.
As the paper looks into the future, Kahiya expressed his appreciation to the current team led by Nyathi.
“May I extend a hearty appreciation to all staffers past and present who have contributed to this effort to create the country’s best Sunday read. I firmly believe current editor Nyathi will usher the paper into a new epoch characterised by engagement and innovation,” he said.
The paper will in the coming weeks be holding roadshows to celebrate its 20th anniversary and thank the readers across the country.