It's tough being an editor in South Africa. There's no "switching off" from the news in a country like this.
Dinner parties. Elevators. Shopping queues. Airline seats. Even the steam room at my local gym. South Africans have a deep and abiding love for all things current affairs, and will put any talking head on TV to shame with their political analysis or take on the latest celebrity break-up. We talk, passionately, furiously, and emphatically, about news all the time.
It makes it hard to get away from the job but it does make for an incredibly exciting place to create news. And boy, do we have a diversity of it -- hard and soft, entertainment and politics, lifestyle and investigations. So what does Huffington Post South Africa bring to an already thriving market?
An inclusive experience. What drew me to the Huffington Post was the opportunity to talk to our audience on their terms. My years in news have taught me that we cannot segment the human experience neatly into sections the way we do our newspapers and websites. For South Africans, the way we live our lives is as important as the political news that regularly shocks us into outrage and action.
Huffington Post globally has established itself as the go-to voice on great politics news and has won a Pulitzer prize for its investigations, and it takes wellness and lifestyle just as seriously. It is the perfect fit for a country like South Africa, where the politics of hair or the challenges facing single mothers can get us talking in as much depth as the latest investigation into state capture or the fees must fall protests.
Video: This is who we are
And that's what HuffPost South Africa will do: we'll take it all seriously, as it should be. Plus, we'll do something more that audiences have for some time been crying out for -- we'll tell you what we make of it all, and why you should care. Huffington Post is known for its take on the news, for calling things as it sees it, and for standing by its views. We think South Africans, who are brilliant at holding their media to a high standard, will appreciate this honesty and transparency.
South Africans have also made it clear in survey after reader survey that they want more than doom and gloom and a run-down of everything that is wrong with the country. So another Huffington Post global trait will fit right at home here: a bent towards solutions-based journalism. This won't be a special section or set type of story, but a thread that runs through our news; from dealing with elderly parents, to covering South Africa's drought and the battle taking place between treasury and the Hawks at the moment.
We have lined up a team of people who are young, smart, passionate, and having the best time together after years in traditional newsrooms. We've spent the three weeks running up to this launch really learning what it means to be fierce and fun, as our tagline puts it. Fun water cooler conversations have turned into actual videos, and earnest discussions have sparked dozens of articles, explainers, political scoops and real investigative work.
We take ethics seriously and will sit up and take notice when we make mistakes, and admit and prevent these in future with integrity.
And finally, we are incredibly excited to announce that we will be doing a first in this country: inviting blogs in any of the South African languages. For too long South Africa's African languages have been neglected by our mainstream media.
HuffPost SA is a small team; just eight people for now and due to grow to about 11. We want to do all we can to allow South Africa to be represented in its complexity.
We can talk ourselves into a panic attack over the state of our government and tear up the next day over a beautiful viral video.
We are a vibrant, talkative, maddening, and highly self-aware country. A country where it is sometimes tough, but mostly a complete privilege, being an editor. Welcome to Huffington Post South Africa. We cannot wait to tell your stories.
Video: Write for Huffington Post South Africa in any South African language