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    Mike Berger

    Yes circulation figures are worrying but even worse is the distorted perceptions created by selective, shallow and sensationalised news reporting and recycling of known untruths or other grotesque distortions of reality in the service of some faction or ideological agenda. Some of it simply reflects poor quality journalists and journalism. In the SA context the possibility of opposition parties being given a fair hearing in the MSM is infinitesimal. We need a diverse range of informed opinion based on professional reporting which separates ideology from fact. A counsel of perfection? Maybe, but worth an effort.

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    Sonya Schoeman

    Dear Chris, I’m amazed that you use the column in Getaway as an example of poor content, when it seems your understanding of the nature of columns is what’s poor here. A column is a personal opinion. These have their place in travel, too, as travel is an experiential enterprise, and as the popularity of AA Gill, Jan Morris and John Simpson and a host of other travel writers’ work has proved. Interestingly, the intelligent and empathetic Darrel Bristow-Bovey’s column is one we get a lot of reader feedback on. Glowing feedback, because they tell of the inner journeys of travel and people relate to that. I stand by these columns absolutely. That’s besides the point, though: if you had been talking about a thin-on-detail travel feature, you would be correct, and I as editor would be blushing. But it is not, and clearly states so. (Interestingly, I would read something written by a good columnist if he or she was in Thailand on the day of the tsunami, because it would be compelling, and I’m certain many other readers would too. And I, along with the rest of them, would be intelligent enough to know that there’s so much more to Thailand than tsunamis, as I know that Miami is a place of bright sun and grand, neon entertainment.) Sonya, the aberrant editor

  3. 3

    Richard Holmes

    I’m with Sonya on this one… I greatly enjoyed Bristow-Bovey’s column as a snapshot of another’s travels. Just as the ‘Accidental Tourist’ column in the Sunday Times is often a great read, even though I don’t expect factual travel advice out of it.

    Sonya Schoeman would obviously be better placed to comment, but I doubt the sole purpose of Getaway is “providing travel information to its readers” as you suggest above. I subscribe to the mag in the hopes of finding information as well as entertainment and inspiration. Bristow-Bovey’s column ticks these last two boxes nicely.

    In fact, the mag’s tagline is ‘Inspiring travel for South Africans”, and I think Darryl’s column was rather inspiring as to how a rainy day in Miami could be turned into a memorable travel experience.

    However, point taken on the fact that magazine’s need to focus their content. As a writer in the industry it certainly seems that the magazines doing well are those talking to a very specific target audience.

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    Excellent piece!

  5. 5

    Richard Holmes

    Oh, and one other thought… my personal bugbear not mentioned above is the trend for newspaper reporters to use Twitter feeds as a valuable source of comment, opinion and reaction… fine when the Tweeter is involved in the story, perhaps, but not when it’s used to pad out the word count with the ramblings of Joe Bloggs.
    I buy newspapers (although rarely, these days) for well-researched and succinctly-written news. If I want to see what Twitter has to say, I’ll go online myself!

  6. 6


    Hi Sonya
    I am a great admirer of Darrel’s work and a regular Getaway reader. I have also spent a lot of time in Miami and all I can say from a traveller’s perspective, this column had nothing of value except a lot of cynicism. I enjoy amusing perspectives very much indeed but this was not Darrel at his best. But, maybe we agree to disagree – all I have done is give my opinion as a media analyst and extensive traveller. Right now the USA is the most visited country on earth and Miami is one of its most popular places. In terms of anyone wanting to visit the USA and perhaps Miami for the first time and who might have purchased Getaway for guidance, you have to admit that this one day view of Miami was one-sided, unbalanced and completely unrepresentative of the city. In my opinion consumers today want accurate information that can help them improve their experience. However, the rest of the magazine is as good as always and of a particularly high standard – which is one of the reasons why I used this column as an example.

  7. 7

    Dan Retief

    Well said Chris. While on the subject of the ST you might also have pointed a finger at the piece of gutter journalism on Graeme Smith that was used, astonishingly, as the front page lead! A great Sunday paper seems intent on becoming the SmuT!

  8. 8

    Circulation Steve

    There ya go , blaming editorial again. While I actually agree with your opinion on this , I think it’s an omission not to also point fingers at the circulation people and distributors of print media – with few exceptions, none of them know how to spell their names or tie their shoe laces. No matter how good the editorial/cover is, if it aint on the right shelf at the right time its about as much use as a back pocket in a string vest….

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