Dear Reader, today we’re proud to announce that we are finally giving this precious publication of ours a new look, and with it, a new life.
Welcome to the new Daily Maverick.
After all these years together, we welcome you to our new home, which is much like our old home, except with many more technological bells and whistles. And pictures. Big, gorgeous pictures.
We won’t bore you with the details of how difficult it is to start a news start-up during these, the end days of journalism, but let’s just say that Daily Maverick’s road to the future was never going to be smooth or easy. Since we launched in 2009, the world has changed irrevocably. Relationships among political forces in South Africa, to say nothing of the rest of the world, have become ever more contentious. Throughout all this mayhem, Daily Maverick tried to remain resolute, never falling for the fads of the day, trying to keep clear sight of truth—or, at least, verifiable fact—and trying to maintain a sense of journalistic responsibility and commitment to the news media’s role as guardians of society.
Only you, our readers, can judge how we’ve fulfilled these objectives. Journalists write the first draft of history, as the legendary Ben Bradlee used to say. Our journey has taken us from Marikana through various political scandals, all the way to unlocking the SARS Rubik’s cube, and to perhaps our biggest and most extensive project, undertaken together with our closest friends and collaborators at amaBhungane—the #GuptaLeaks.
So here we are almost nine years later, against all odds and predictions to the contrary. (The smart money was on the detractors.) If you were one of our original readers in late 2009, you’re part of a small club of fans that stayed with us. Thank you. These days, you’re one of 1.2 million monthly visitors, the great majority of them South Africans, people who have helped power us forward into a brand that now has gained—as the advertising people say—‘traction’.
The news business is a funny thing, and in many ways 2017 was a breakout year for Daily Maverick. We experienced a 40% increase in sessions and page views, on top of the 100% increase we generated over the course of the previous year. The #GuptaLeaks earthquake required a massive expenditure of resources that, as important as the stories may have been, pulled us off several other, big projects. We’re still a small outfit, growing to be sure, barking up some big trees. But we want to be bigger and better, more inclusive and more comprehensive, and these new clothes for Daily Maverick attest to our aspirations.
Some would call this new website a “Beta Launch”, because what you see today is essentially a “minimum viable product”—techie speak for, well, we don’t know what. We’d like to think that we have fundamentally transformed what was an old-school battle-hardened website into a world-class online platform, and that this is only the beginning of Daily Maverick’s transmogrification into a dominant intergalactic media empire. (We’re kidding. Sort of.)
So bear with us. For the rest of 2018 and beyond, we will be continuously introducing new features and launching new publications, many of which we will be announcing in the not-so-distant future.
Make no mistake, this is a big deal for a digital publication like Daily Maverick; we have changed our content management system and server hosting environment, then deciding that we also had to undergo a complete rethink of the front-end reader experience to help make us an even more enjoyable and versatile read, and to allow us the freedom to publish many more stories that will hopefully introduce us to a new, and perhaps more sizeable, readership.
In plain words, we have embraced modern technology in order to protect our old-style journalistic values.
We’ve done it in a difficult environment, where many a creative agency’s quote was bigger than our annual operating budget. And yet, our partners Realm Digital and Simon Says, rose to the occasion and produced world-class work at, um, democracy-defending prices. The new logos for Daily Maverick and Scorpio were designed by the good people at M&C Saatchi Abel. Good because they are just so powerful. (And better because they were done pro-bono!)
We are eternally grateful for all the generous help and support that made this remake possible.
You, the Comrades, Fighters and Democrats that read us every day, will now be able to log in with us and save your favourite stories for later, subscribe to your favourite writers, and enjoy beautiful picture galleries filled with great photography, and so much more.
Importantly, this new technology will enable us to form a Daily Maverick Membership Club, a truly exciting development, more of which we will be able to share soon.
(If you have any tinge of worry here, no need: there will be no paywall on Daily Maverick, not now, not in the future.)
If there’s one word that guides us at Daily Maverick, that would be meaningfulness. What does meaningfulness mean? Different things to different people. To us, it helped us dream up this online daily that has gained its own momentum. It made us listen as we realised that our newsletter must wrap itself around your needs every morning. And through the years, as The Gathering grew into one of South Africa’s most notable conferences, and as our stories resonated with an ever wider readership, it was our own version of meaningfulness that helped us through the inevitable valleys that define the start-up experience.
Perhaps that would be the best way to look at our brand new website – it is about serving our readers, who are the bedrock of our brand. This website is a digital love-letter to you, a big fat hug rendered in bits and bytes. We’re nothing without you.
So, thank you for lending us your eyes, your ears and your time all these years. It’s been a wild ride – and we hope you are ready and willing for so much more. DM
PS: An important message from our techies: As always, this is a work-in-progress and, in a project as massive and complex as this is, it is entirely possible that the gremlins are still in there somewhere. So please, if you spot something wrong, be a friend and drop us a line, or two, on our Bugspray e-mail link. It would be so much appreciated. Coffee on us.
PPS: In addition to its new web offering, Daily Maverick is also launching a branded content and advertising support agency called Beatnik, a collective of award-winning journalists, videographers, web developers and designers ready to devise and deliver imaginative, influential and results-driven branded content we know will resonate with our readers.
PPPS: If you’d like to share our new reader experience with the world, please use the hashtag #DMBeautifulTruth