Why I sold off SabiNews – Toni Kan

Sunday Trust - - MEDIA -

prob­a­bly the news plat­form with the high­est num­ber of fe­male colum­nists or should I say colum­nists pe­riod. The thing is, we had never met many of them. We scoured so­cial me­dia, found peo­ple who were do­ing stuff, ap­proached them and made them of­fers. We were also prob­a­bly the only web­site in Nige­ria that was pay­ing all the colum­nists we com­mis­sioned to write.

You’ve writ­ten for mag­a­zines, so you’re no stranger to pub­lish­ing. How dif­fer­ent, would you say, is run­ning a hard copy op­er­a­tion in com­par­i­son to an on­line pub­li­ca­tion like SabiNews?

Time is the key. With a hard copy pub­li­ca­tion, you have the lib­erty of time; chas­ing news, writ­ing it, plan­ning it and go­ing to press. With an on­line pub­li­ca­tion, you don’t have that lux­ury. It’s real time and you have to be quick and nim­ble and yet en­sur­ing that you fact-check and dou­ble-check, and stay eth­i­cal.

You’re also a fa­mous au­thor, a PR ex­pert, and a dad. How do these things all add up to in­flu­ence the kind of me­dia ex­ec­u­tive or con­tent cre­ator you are right now?

I think what in­forms ev­ery­thing I do is a work ethic that fo­cuses on eth­i­cal con­duct and pro­fes­sion­al­ism. You won’t find a staff or colum­nist who will say I or my part­ner owe him or her. We don’t owe salaries. We treat our peo­ple with re­spect. We make sure our peo­ple be­have in an eth­i­cal and pro­fes­sional man­ner. This is at the heart of all I do as a hu­man be­ing and busi­ness-owner.

With SabiNews now un­der new own­er­ship, what me­dia pro­ject have you de­vel­oped or de­vel­op­ing?

We launched a new web­site, ThisIsLa­gos.ng on March 11, 2018 and it is al­ready catch­ing on. It is more metro-cen­tric but with our trade­mark analy­ses and opin­ions. Traffic is grow­ing but more im­por­tantly we are grow­ing a fresh crop of read­ers who are be­com­ing ha­bit­ual vis­i­tors. We did some­thing fresh with SabiNews and we hope to recre­ate the magic. Eight months in, things are look­ing good.

We hope to grow ThisIsLa­gos to a point where it will be­come the pre­em­i­nent site about La­gos and we hope that an in­vestor with deeper pock­ets will see what we have done and buy it from us. But you see our ex­pe­ri­ence with sell­ing SabiNws has shown that in­vestors are look­ing for busi­nesses that are well-run, struc­tured, eth­i­cal and pro­fes­sion­ally run. It takes hard work to run a busi­ness well and to pay on time but when you sell, you re­alise it was all worth it.

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