Reg Rumney

Remembering Howard Preece

Remembering Howard Preece 16.09.1939 – 07.09.2016 Oxford-educated and incredibly sharp, Howard Preece for a time dominated economics journalism in South Africa. The former editor of the Rand Daily Mail’s finance section won the economics section of the Sanlam Awards for Financial Journalism often, and the overall award four times, starting in 1975. He was editor…

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Where should the rand be?

For those who see conspiracy in the steep plunge in the value of the rand against the US dollar, the graph below showing the decline of the Australian dollar can only mean a similar conspiracy against the Australian currency. If you don’t believe in conspiracies — which is not the same as acknowledging that traders…

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The poor economy is not all Zuma’s fault

Some lessons I have learned from reporting on economic crises: * Don’t fixate on any one cause. Economies are complex webs of interrelated phenomena. Interest-rate changes are not the whim of the central bank, ie the Reserve Bank. They depend on a range of other economic actors, including our government and other economies in the…

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The rand’s fall – it’s deja vu all over again

At around R13 to the dollar now, our exports must be quite competitive. They could get quite a lot more competitive soon. At the same time as being a temporary boon for the mines, a weaker currency should boost the trade balance because we’ll all have to cut back on imports. A weaker currency also…

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Greece: What you think you know may hurt you

“Nescience”. What a lovely word. It means not knowing. Looking at reactions to the Greek crisis, outside Greece, before and after a somewhat puzzling referendum makes me wish more people would accept the state of nescience on some issues. For me, the Greek tragedy presents a fascinating study of how politics and economics are inseparable….

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In defence of journalistic objectivity

The appearance in public of senior editorial members of the Independent media group in ANC garb has occasioned a vibrant if sometimes bitter debate about independence and partisanship. What set off a lively and sometimes-acrimonious debate was an article by Daily Maverick writer Marianne Thamm, who raised the idea of journalistic “objectivity”. She wrote: “The…

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Ten tips on how to be a colonial

1. Constantly compare your country, its people, its practices, its food, drink, scenery and products to the overseas version and always find the local version wanting. 2. Ignore the cynicism and spiritual poverty of nations who have seen better days. 3. Have no faith in home-grown solutions. Always look for international or European or US…

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New Age harkens back to a previous age

Thanks to City Press, we now have an idea of how the New Age, a newspaper without audited circulation figures and little advertising, survives in the competitive daily newspaper market. The Gupta family, who are said to be close to President Jacob Zuma, created the New Age as a deliberate counter to the mainstream commercial…

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The Economist gets it wrong — again

It’s easy to satirise the kind of journalism that led to the now famous October 20 “Cry, the beloved country” cover story of the Economist magazine. There are two stories in the edition, a short “leader” article and the main story. This is the intro of the main story in the magazine: “It has made…

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Some sympathy for the editor, please

I too dislike the painting. It offends me for reasons I can’t quite fathom. I do know as satire it resembles the blow of a club more than the rapier thrust. Yet I am appalled by the Taliban-like reaction to it. Brett Murray must have an inkling of how Salman Rushdie felt. The spotlight, however,…

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