Vacancy: Researcher

Closing date: 14 February 2020

WhatsNews is a digital media start-up that creates accessible news via video, interactive text and audio, which is then distributed through messaging services like WhatsApp. Its two products are explain.co.za, which explains complex items in simple-to-understand terms, and a weekly summary of news for busy people. It was founded by Verashni Pillay, previously editor-in-chief of the Mail & Guardian and HuffPost SA. 

WhatsNews is looking for a junior journalist to join the start-up, on a one-year contract. The position pays R10 000-00 a month CTC, and provides all necessary equipment including a laptop. 


The hours are: Sunday – Thursday, 10am – 6pm. Overtime will be required on occasion. Travel will be minimal. The position will be based at an office in Johannesburg – no remote working. 

The position is open to anyone regardless of age, race, gender or nationality – as long as you have the requisite legal papers to work in South Africa. 

The candidate will report to WhatsNews founder, Verashni Pillay. There is a strong possibility of contract renewal and an increase upon contract renewal. 

Starting date: 1 March 2020

What we’re looking for: 

The ideal candidate will be a journalist first and foremost, or have a journalist bent in their understanding of the world. We are open to a recent graduate or – preferably – someone with some reporting/researching experience under their belt. 

You should be a fairly energetic individual with a passion for pushing boundaries, experimenting and giving every task your all. 


  • Daily monitoring of news developments
  • Researching and script-writing two explainer videos a week
  • Researching and script-writing one podcast a week
  • Updating the various digital platforms with content and promoting it on the relevant social media platforms

Qualifications and skills:

  • Excellent writing skills
  • Strong research skills, with a proven track record in this regard
  • A love for current affairs and South Africa – important!
  • A passion for consuming news, particularly written news. Must have a daily habit of reading mainstream news publications and staying up to date with current affairs
  • Confidence using digital media, including social media.
  • Bonus, but not a must-have: 
    • Reporting experience 
    • Some familiarity with basic graphic design on Canva or similar
    • WordPress skills will be taught but again, a bonus if you already are familiar with it
    • Degree or diploma, preferably in journalism. This can be waived if there is sufficient experience/self-teaching to demonstrate your skills

Send your CV and motivation to whatsnewssa@gmail.com. Please be sure to read the above advert thoroughly before applying.