The importance of being Erns
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.