25 NEW SABC SHOCKERS - IN STAFFERS' OWN WORDS

Friday, April 1, 2016

Veteran reporter Andrew Barnes leaves eNCA; the longtime News Day anchor will exit at the end of April, closing yet another chapter at the news channel.


The senior TV anchor Andrew Barnes is done with eNCA (DStv 403), becoming the latest high-profile name leaving the Sabido-run TV news channel in the ongoing exodus of highly experienced brand names and on-screen talent.

Andrew Barnes' sudden resignation as the longtime anchor of eNCA's News Day on eNCA and e.tv came as a shocking surprise to staff in the same week as the longtime anchor and reporter Robyn Smith signed off on Monday night when she read her last eNews Direct bulletin on e.tv.

Both Andrew Barnes and Robyn Smith clocked 15 years at eNCA and eMedia Investments' eNews brand.

The reporter, editor and anchor Andrew Barnes will leave eNCA at the end of April where he brought gravitas, stability and credibility to eNCA's mid-noon schedule over many years. In a statement eNCA says it thanks Andrew Barnes for his loyalty and hard work over the years.

His exit is the latest in an ongoing string of retrenchments and resignations at the news channel that started in 2015, with eNCA being gutted by a massive loss of experienced and talented staffers in front of, and behind the scenes.

While eNCA remains the most watched TV news channel among all of the local and international TV news channels available on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform, the ongoing loss of expertise and skill in TV news channel operation and reporting on eNCA has become noticeable the past few months.

eNCA's reporting has been marred by incidence of blatant plagiarism and even pay-for-play reporting - a sign of what appears to be compromised news values at eNCA and new people who don't care, of perhaps simply don't know better, when it comes to reporting news.

The exit of Andrew Barnes also brings another eNCA chapter to a sad close.

When the veteran Andrew Barnes takes off his lapel mic for the last time at the end of this month, it will mark the final end of literally all of the original on-screen faces and several news executives behind the scenes who were at e.tv's eNews brand and evening bulletin before and at the moment eNCA launched in June 2008 and who were part of, and transitioned to the rolling TV news channel.

Andrew Barnes will close the door as the last one in a string of eNCA losses who were all part of a special group of people who started the news channel and who are no longer at eNCA: the likes of Marcel GoldingPatrick Conroy, Chantal Rutter Dros, Pat PillaiDebora Patta, Ben Said, Robyn Smith and others.

It was Andrew Barnes who was instrumental in spotting and bringing the affable meteorologist Derek van Dam, now at CNN International (DStv 401), originally into the eNCA fold.

Michelle Craig, the umpteenth new co-host in a revolving door of presenters next to Andrew Barnes over multiple years will now continue to anchor News Day alone from May. Observers say its further evidence of the ongoing downscaling of the prominence given to eNCA's Cape Town studios on the channel with News Day that's anchored from eNCA's hub in the Mother City.

In January Andrew Barnes made headlines when he mocked the Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga's for being unable to correctly say the word "epitome" when she announced the 2015 matric results.

He apologised and was suspended with disciplinary action taken against him although eNCA refused to tell the public what sanctions were taken.

Andrew Barnes, who'd holidayed in south-east Asia and earlier this year told viewers how peaceful it was there with a cellphone without reception, is planning to move to Cambodia to launch a start-up business.

"It's been an incredible journey here at e.tv," says Andrew Barnes. "I have been able to realise my childhood dream of anchoring TV news and reporting from places like Washington DC., New York and London. Those opportunities followed several rewarding years in news management."

"I leave South Africa with my partner to start a new life in my favourite corner of the world, south-east Asia. I'll be putting the years of experience I've gained in training and development to launch my own business in Cambodia."

"While Brandon and I shall miss this country, we're excited that the time has come to spread our wings. I leave the e-family with a profound sense of satisfaction with my contribution, most especially of all the new talent I have helped train and develop."

Mapi Mhlanga, eNCA news director says Andrew Barnes will be missed. "I would like to thank him for 15 years of dedication and professionalism. Andrew will be missed and it is difficult to imagine the Cape Town office without him."