The im­por­tance of be­ing Erns

go! - - Ed’s Letter - PIERRE STEYN PSteyn@Me­

This is­sue of go! (#140) is a mile­stone for a num­ber of rea­sons. It even got an of­fice name while we were plan­ning it: the “Erns Edi­tion”. Not only did Erns Grundling write two of the main sto­ries (the Khomas Hochland hike and our guide to Wind­hoek), he also pro­filed the writer Elsa Jou­bert, com­piled the books page and wrote about the Swart­berg Coun­try Manor for our week­end sec­tion. Ev­ery­thing had to hap­pen chop-chop in late 2017, at the time of year when our dead­lines were at their cra­zi­est. You know what they say about hind­sight? Well, it might not have been the best idea to load all of this on Erns. As you’ll read on the fol­low­ing page (and as he ad­mits him­self), Erns and dead­lines aren’t cud­dly bed­fel­lows. Less Romeo and Juliet, more Kramer vs Kramer. In the past few years, Erns has de­vel­oped into quite a long-dis­tance ath­lete. His writ­ing process closely re­sem­bles his run­ning style: slow and some­times painful in the be­gin­ning, un­til he builds mo­men­tum and pow­ers through to the fin­ish. In­deed, this award-win­ning writer is not only one of our best jour­nal­ists, he’s one of South Africa’s best. It’s fit­ting that the Erns Edi­tion will be his last as a full-time mem­ber of the ed­i­to­rial team. Read what his col­leagues – past and present – have to say about him on page 9. He might be fly­ing the nest, but he’s still fam­ily and I’m chuffed to say that he’ll still be writ­ing for us ev­ery month. We’ll need his sto­ries! As you can see (and feel), this month’s is­sue has grown by a whop­ping 24 pages. The ex­tra space gives us the chance to do a whole bunch of new things in 2018; things we’ve wanted to do for a while. For ex­am­ple, each month we’ll fea­ture a bird­watch­ing col­umn (page 28), a fun day hike (page 110) and a cross­word puzzle (page 144) com­piled by our own puzzle queen, Gerda En­gel­brecht. To do this – and to make the fi­nan­cial side of things work – we’ve in­creased the cover price to R55. That’s the bad news, but it’s un­avoid­able. It’s no se­cret the me­dia in­dus­try, and the print me­dia in­dus­try in par­tic­u­lar, is un­der huge stress. We could prob­a­bly save money by ac­cept­ing the nu­mer­ous of­fers of free travel and ac­com­mo­da­tion we re­ceive from a va­ri­ety of es­tab­lish­ments and com­pa­nies ev­ery month, but we be­lieve that this would jeop­ar­dise our cred­i­bil­ity. We’ve al­ways paid our own way so that we can write hon­estly about the places we visit. This, and the trust you’ve placed in us over the years, has helped us to be­come the big­gest travel mag­a­zine in South Africa by far. An­other way to save money would be to sit in the of­fice ev­ery day, surf the In­ter­net and com­pile su­per­fi­cial sto­ries il­lus­trated us­ing brochure pho­to­graphs. In­stead, we be­lieve in old-school jour­nal­ism; jour­nal­ism that takes our writ­ers out of the of­fice to ac­tu­ally visit des­ti­na­tions, talk to peo­ple, smell the dust and eat the samoosas – so that you can ex­pe­ri­ence the same things through their writ­ing. Qual­ity, cred­i­ble jour­nal­ism costs money. The cheap op­tion is not an op­tion for us. We need your sup­port to keep do­ing what we do: R55 is the price of two medi­ocre cap­pu­ci­nos and we be­lieve it’s still an ab­so­lute bar­gain.

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