“Tech Cabal offered me an opportunity to work across the continent, outside of South Africa, where I can spread my wings while working in an important sphere of journalism,” he says. "We're at the forefront of the African tech narrative, and we believe in telling authentic, data-driven stories."
Before taking on this opportunity, he worked for several South African publications mostly in digital leadership roles, but this is the first time leading a technology focused platform.
“I started my career in Durban back in 1999 and soon moved to Johannesburg where I worked at The Star newspaper for about 10 years. I left print for digital in 2009 as IOL's digital editor, and I've been fortunate enough to work for important news organisations like The Star, Mail and Guardian and EWN over the past two decades,” he says.
In his first 90 days at the helm, Ephraim has worked on recruiting new reporters to help broaden the reach of the publication.
He adds: “We are recruiting a few new reporters in an effort to expand our reach to North Africa, East Africa and Southern Africa. At the moment, we're quite strong in Nigeria and Ghana in West Africa. But our immediate plans are to expand to other regions of Africa. So that's number one on the list.”
Ephraim also has the challenge of moving from a broader news point of view to a singular beat: technology. He is also based in South Africa while managing a continental team.
“Working remotely is always going to be a challenge and I think fortunately or unfortunately 2020 has kind of showed us that it is possible to work remotely if you are organised and if you have the right tools at your disposal, this makes it practical to manage a newsroom remotely. But what is more difficult is the unspoken languages, the kind of nuances that the emotive side of managing that we miss out on,” he says.
Ephraim says apart from strengthening the newsletter part of the business they want to focus on social videos. “We are focusing on social videos this year. Video is a big, big play for us. We are going to put in a lot more investment into it, a lot more thought and creativity.”
He says storytelling about African technology is important because it is actively improving the lives of ordinary people by creating employment, businesses and opportunities.
“I think there are a lot of stories that are untold in Africa, a lot of really good stories, and we're trying to focus on that. And in terms of the expansion, there's so much opportunity in Africa, there's so many people that need to know information, that need to be educated about tech and startups but there are just not enough publications telling those stories.”
Some of the voices he plans to bring to the fold are those who have been previously marginalised.
“I look for writers who try to think outside of the box and who do not just go with the already established narratives. I look for someone who speaks for different voices like female voices. I look for young voices and people who have traditionally been marginalised in everyday life in Africa. And lastly, I look for voices from the different parts of the continent.”
According to Ephraim, one of the biggest issues facing journalism today is brain drain.
“The biggest threat to us is bigger tech companies that have just overshadowed a lot of the media. I think we are losing a lot of skills to those bigger companies and bigger tech companies and to adjacent industries. I think journalism and media is losing a lot of people and we have lost people for the last 10 years. So there's a skills drain that has been prevalent in media for the past decade.”
He describes himself as a goal orientated person who takes his responsibility as a leader seriously.
“I'm a very goal orientated person and I have very clear goals for my team. I want to lead by example and bring some energy to the newsroom to the staff. You know, ultimately, I'm inspired by the goals that we have in front of us for this year,” concludes Ephraim.