A flurry of private newspapers emerged in Africa around 1990, in reaction to the bad effects of state control. They focused on a democratisation role as primary.
Left to the side was the idea of playing a development role. The political kingdom had to be democratised as a precondition to ending the misdevelopment of the political despots. The very notion of “development journalism” added to this emphasis. Patently, authoritarian governments and top-down messaging had failed to deliver "development".
Where are the energy reporters now that we really, really need them? The South African news media has missed a big opportunity.
This was the opportunity to sound the alarm before the horse bolted out the door and vanished over the hill. Instead, we are now reporting on the meetings held afterwards to find out who to blame for the horse bolting and to report on plans for future door bolting.