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People Daily back on weekend with showbiz newspaper

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Mediamax staff during the launch.
Mediamax staff during the launch.

Mediamax Network Ltd has launched a weekend entertainment paper as it seeks to re-energise The People Daily (PD). This comes a year after scrapping weekend editions as part of a restructuring that saw it retrench over 50 staff members including some of its top journalists.

PD Wikendi made its debut last weekend in a low-profile launch. The newspaper covers celebrity news, human interest features, personal finance and sports, positioning itself to woo younger readers.  An op-ed by its editor Matilda Nzioki, who has made a comeback to PD, says the weekend paper will offer news ranging from entertainment, going out, surfing the web, travelling, family time, weddings, fashion, beauty, shopping, business and sports, among others.

The launch of the weekend paper is said to be part of a plan by the media house, controlled by the Kenyatta family, to fill the gap left by the discontinuation of weekend editions to tap into advertising by politicians and the coverage in the run-up to next August’s General Election.

Insiders confided in Business Today that the management has approved the recruitment of a political editor to be in charge of electoral coverage.

The former holder of the position, Mr Eric Nyakagwa, was among victims of last November’s downsizing when the position was declared redundant as was that of Special Projects Editor Kamau Ngotho who was responsible for the bulk of weekend content production.

Though veteran journalist Patrick Wachira was later appointed to take over Ngotho’s responsibilities, his job description has remained clouded as he doubles as assignments editor.

He has also been deputising Managing Editor Maina Muiruri though Quality and Training Editor Chris Odwesso has since been appointed the substantive deputy ME.

See Also >> People Daily slapped with fine for defamation 

With the launch of the PD Wikendi, critics are, however, skeptical as to whether it will gain traction in a market where readers are keen on analytical and investigative – especially political pieces – for a weekend read.

“What they are doing can best serve as an insert in a serious newspaper,” a former editor with a local media house told Business Today.

Though Ms Nzioki said the launch of the paper took months of planning, the inaugural edition’s cover story was on K24 presenter Anjlee Gadvhi’s successful battle with liveR cancer, which has received hectares of coverage in other media channels in recent months.

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BT Reporter
BT Reporterhttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
editor [at] businesstoday.co.ke
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