Why I sold off SabiNews – Toni Kan
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.