The Zimbabwe Mirror Newspapers Group (ZMNG) is believed to be on the
brink of collapse following a significant drop in revenue and its
circulation, writes Torby Muturikwa.
The ZMNG are the publishers of the Daily Mirror and the Sunday Mirror, both titles that are struggling to make an impact on the market.
The ZMNG woes are blamed on the takeover by the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) who booted out founding editor and proprietor Dr Ibbo Mandaza.
WorkersÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â said the flagship Daily Mirror has suffered significant drops in advertising revenue and circulation – prompting the principals to revise targets upwards.
The Daily Mirror is now selling 2 500 copies a day, a far cry from the steady sales of between 12 000 and 18 000 recorded during the time of Mandaza.
The Sunday Mirror has not been spared either as it sells between 1000 and 1 500 copies compared to its competitors, the state-controlled Sunday Mail and the private weekly, The Standard.
Stung by the poor sales and circulation, management at the ZMNG has revised upwards the target for its sales team resulting in the unceremonious departure ofÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â head of marketing – Wilson Chivaura and his deputy Evans Sagomba.
The duo refused to sign new contracts that the board had imposed on them. They did not agree with the contents of the new contracts that they said set unrealistic targets.
From a monthly revenue target through advertising of $10m, they were now expected to generate $200m a week starting in January. Chivaura, once Ibbo MandazaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s deputy, and Sagomba felt that it was a way of getting rid of them.
Sources say they argued that with a print run of only 2 500, advertisers would not do business with them.
Editor-in-Chief of the two titles Joseph Kurebgwa has been suspended while the Editor of The Daily Mirror, Tawanda Majoni, has left for greener pastures.
Last week, The Daily Mirror parted company with deputy news editor Partson Matsikidze who was forced to resign after confessing to writing for a United States newsite.
Workers at the publishing group blame the CIOÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s controlling role for alienating readers and clients.
Presently, the ZMNG owe Z$500 million in overdraft largely for salaries and fuel.
Since the CIO took over a year ago, there have been massive resignations.
Journalists who made inglorious exists from the group include founder Mandaza, Sydney Kawadza, Takunda Marodza and Paidamoyo Chipunza.
Senior Sports reporter Tawanda Tafirenyika and Sub Editor Jacob Rukweza and Sunday Mirror reporter Kuda Chikwanda have complained of victimisation and might soon be shown the door, allege workers at the papers.