When the world changes, you have to change with it – alterations to Balancing Act’s news service

3 July 2020

Top Story

The Covid-19 crisis has accelerated some changes that I have been thinking about making for some time. So this week’s issue outlines why we are changing what we deliver and how I think you will continue to find it useful.

Several things have made me want to change what we deliver to you, our telecoms and internet subscribers. Firstly, there are now many sources for timely information on telecoms and internet markets in Africa and often very good, detailed news sources at a country level in major markets. When we first started, we were among a handful of sources and I launched the e-letter so that it would be an intelligence gathering service that I shared with my readers.

Secondly, over 20 years Balancing Act has done what it does because we earn our living from consultancy and research work, not from journalism. So we would like to offer something that more consciously uses the analytic skills we have.

Thirdly, I have signed a contract with Manchester University Press to write a book about the last 25 years of tech in Africa and I want a little more time and space to get that done.

So what will you as a subscriber to the e-letter be getting from this point forward? There will be two e-letters – this one covering telecoms and internet and our other one covering broadcast and convergence – and both will be fortnightly from now on.

In the past, the e-letter has been about 20 pages of aggregated content, made up of press releases and stories from other publications that are in the main based on press releases. There has been one original piece of journalism, the Top Story, which is usually between 1-3 pages. I have also had two other e-letters – Digital Content Africa and Innovation in Africa – which we have now closed.

The enormous amount of information means that you as the reader will inevitably not read everything – either from our e-letters or any other media. So I have decided to focus on one story a week (that I will write) that aims to identify a trend or change, either in an important market or (using our contacts) across the continent.

Depending on the topic, it will either be a long or a short read and may contain some of the kind of original research which goes into our industry reports. If I have enough information on a key topic (and I have no shortage of ideas) it will be like a briefing paper on the subject.

If you have topics you’d like me to look at, don’t hesitate to contact me with suggestions on info@balancingact-africa.com. I look forward to you joining me on the next stage of the journey as Africa negotiates Covid-19.

Russell Southwood


Balancing Act