Statement from the Grocott’s Mail Board and the Rhodes University School of Journalism and Media Studies
Grocott’s Mail has brought our readers news, information and a sense of community through three wars, droughts, floods, fires and the Spanish flu. Local politics, visits by national and international celebrities, controversies (like the name change) and travesties (like infrastructure failures), arts and culture (including the National Arts Festival), science and environmental activism, local sport and quirky characters: these are just some of what Grocott’s Mail had covered when we marked 150 years of independent journalism on 11 May 2020.
We celebrated this milestone quietly with a specially commissioned history of the news organisation as Grocott’s Mail made the undertaking to remain with the community and keep it informed despite the financial hardships that Covid brought this year.
We would like to thank all our publishing, content and commercial partners who helped us achieve this.
The year of the 2020 pandemic has put our community under great financial strain that has impacted all facets of our daily lives and fundamentally changed the way businesses will operate in the future. And so while our partners’ support allowed us to continue to publish, the rapid fall in revenue has unfortunately left us unable to continue as a going print concern in 2021.
This brings to the end an era for one of South Africa’s oldest independent community newspapers.
Grocott’s Mail’s closure as a business does not mark the end of the road for community journalism in our town.
The School of Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University has made a commitment to continued journalism education and training and the ongoing development of community journalism in Makhanda. This commitment will see GMDirect and associated digital platforms being taken on by the school as an academic and community engagement project.
GMDirect will continue to provide Makhanda focused journalism across our digital platforms – our weekly PDF edition, GM Live website and social media.
We encourage you to continue supporting the work of GMDirect as we embark on the School of Journalism and Media Studies project to inform, educate, listen to our town’s pulse and respond.
Grocott’s Mail would like to thank the Makhanda community, including institutions, businesses, and individuals, who have contributed to the news organisation over its history.