Tim Cohen today wrote his last column as editor of Business Day.

He reflects a little on what it’s been like to be the editor of a newspaper in the current era in south Africa and the wider world.

A few priceless snippets:

“The biggest problem with being an editor is that the number of enemies you make increases exponentially. This is particularly so nowadays because newspapers are in a state of decline, but more so because while people like the idea of newspapers being critical in general, they dislike it rather intensely when that critique is applied to them.

“This has a particular application in SA, because I and my predecessors, Songezo Zibi and Peter Bruce, share one crucial feature: we have been determined to ensure we maintain our ethic of being a critical publication and that this should be at the core of our work.”

“The broader political events were so spellbinding that we were often dragged into a national political discussion, to the detriment of following the business story more acutely.”

“Newspapers lack real publishers who love journalism for the truth it brings, rather than for the money it earns (or doesn’t) or the influence it generates or the platform it provides to drift off into new adventures in the digital era. Newspapers are not things; they are ideas. And they are fragile ones at that. They are porcelain vases in an open sea. They should be treated with awe, not with a callous pruning knife.”

Read the entire article here