Jos Kuper is a GREAT researcher of the public mood.
She has been marching in close step with us ever since Daily Sun was a mere twinkle in the eye.
She’s warned us of blind alleys…and pointed out the more promising highways.
In so doing she’s become a very significant expert indeed, specially insofar as the Suns’ markets are concerned.
Right now she’s done it again…conducting painstaking panel discussions with dozens of SunReaders.
The aim is to discover how life has changed for them since we launched eight years ago, how their priorities may have changed… are they still, so to speak, starry eyed about their country and, of course, their newspaper?
Most fascinatingly, this time she’s unearthed a deep vein of cynicism!
It might seem a bit fast – for an electorate to go from high hopes to cynicism in less than 20 years…but then these guys DO move fast: From bicycles to taxis and cars in one mighty bound, from no phone to a cellphone in another mighty bound, completely bypassing land lines…
Jos has discovered that there have been just too many broken promises and wrecked hopes.
If politicians thought they could string things out for a while…they’re wrong.
On a quite heroic scale, people simply don’t believe them any more…
Just a few years ago people still looked to the government to help them with their problems…and believed the government would, in fact, come.
Now the people know… they can deal with officials until they get old – and not much will happen.
People are learning the hard way that the only help is what comes from themselves.
That’s a priceless bit of market intelligence for papers like ours.
And, increasingly, we reflect the phenomenon on Page 1…
Consider THIS front page this week… (see picture >>)
Wind had blown the roof off a school…
As usual, the so-called authorities went “umm and aah”…
The school needed to be broken down, they said, because it was old…The kids had to be moved to another school…”blah, blah, blah,” they droned on – as if they were administering a school in the very heart of the First World.
But the parents were having none of that, thank God.
They just decided to fix the roof themselves!
We ran a picture of their fathers on the roof, as you can see, right next to a flashback to editor Themba Khumalo’s column earlier in the week: Don’t weep and moan – take control of life!
And just listen to some of the views of the ‘Dads on the Roof’: “Nothing could be more important than our kids’ education” and “Our kids’ time has already been wasted due to the strike…the department was supposed to fix the problem.”
Meanwhile the department, of course, “interacts with other stakeholders” and “receives reports.”
If I was an official of what’s supposed to be a “popular government” I would be seriously worried…
Meantime Daily Sun will continue to shed light on the new ways people are doing things out there.
Deon du Plessis