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Bonus newsletter: an exclusive interview with Good Place founder
The former Lonely Planet magazine team have launched something new...
It’s another one of those months with five Tuesdays, so this week you’re all getting a bonus newsletter with some extra special content. Don’t forget, this newsletter is weekly but free subscribers only receive the first email of the month.
In September, we’re going to be answering all your FAQs — from the best time to pitch to how to be more sustainable as a travel writer — so become a paid subscriber now and you won’t miss a thing. It’s just £5 a month or £50 for the year.
Is the travel media actually healing?
By this time last year, the travel media was totting up casualties. We said goodbye to the likes of Family Traveller magazine and the Sunday Times Travel mag, and we watched as newspapers and websites slowed or halted production of their travel stories. The travel media and travel industry shrank rather considerably in 2020.
Today, though, there’s a better outlook. The travel supplements are back in full force with pages and pages of deliciously blue swimming pools and tempting new hotels round ups. Our social media feeds are stuffed with colleagues going on press trips and even a few friends have been spotted sojourning abroad. To borrow a 2020 cliché, #travelishealing.
A few good things have come out of the ashes, too. This newsletter — if we do say so ourselves — is a positive outcome of the grimness of the pandemic, and the cleverly crowdfunded JRNY magazine, with its equal pay structure for freelancers, was a welcome new addition to the travel media scene. Family Traveller has even relaunched.
And now, there’s another new travel mag on the scene and it’s really quite exciting. Following a similar funding model to JRNY’s beginnings, Good Place is hoping to raise capital for its first issue on Kickstarter. We know it’s going to be a corker because it has been founded by the team behind Lonely Planet magazine — which closed down in 2020 — but you don’t need to take our word for it.
We spoke with founder Amanda Canning about what Good Place is and how they might work with freelancers in future…
Amanda Canning, founder of Good Place magazine
Give us your elevator pitch - what is Good Place?
The whole Good Place philosophy is on ‘travel less ordinary and tales less told’, whatever the destination. Whether we’re covering a bar in Milan or the jungles of Nicaragua, we’re rooting out an unusual story and sharing unique experiences. We’re inspired by those places, moments and encounters that are enduringly good, the ones that keep a hold on our souls however many years pass. Our aim, ultimately, is to fuel our readers’ curiosity about the world through the very best visual story-telling.
Why did you want to launch this now?
The pandemic saw off a number of travel magazines, including the one I was deputy editor of — Lonely Planet. The world is still working out how to deal with Covid, but the first glimmers of hope are there for the travel industry, and it feels like the right time to pull something positive from the rubble. Everyone’s desperate for a good news story. Thankfully, a few of my talented former colleagues agreed and we’re now making the magazine we always wanted to: original, intelligent, beautiful, joyful. It sounds cheesy, but I hope people will view reading the magazine as spending time with a good pal. One thing we won’t be doing is publishing bucket lists, top tens, pieces proclaiming a destination as the next new XX, and so on — there’s a lot of that out there already.
Once your Kickstarter is funded and issue one is out the way, what’s the plan?
My plan was always to get the first issue out and then build a sustainable business model from there. Possibly that’s the wrong way around! Planning for issue two is already under way, and I hope we get enough interest in and support for the magazine to make it a quarterly publication. I want to be able to pay contributors fairly for their work, and am very happy to work with liked-minded advertisers to increase funds for editorial. Beyond that, I’m looking at a model that will allow us to also host a podcast; build a carefully curated website; run unique reader events, workshops and awards; and create original content for brands that have similar values to Good Place.
Will you work with freelancers in the future?
Absolutely. I’d be interested in hearing from anyone with an interesting story to tell. Photography is vital to the magazine, and I’m especially keen to receive pitches from writer/photographer teams.
Do you have any words of wisdom to share with aspiring or new travel writers?
I have so much to say here, but will attempt to keep it brief! My first piece of advice for newbies is simply to keep writing and honing your craft. Editors will always want to see examples of your work – it doesn’t necessarily matter if you can’t show them published pieces as long as you have something that demonstrates your style and ability. Second, do your research and know who you’re pitching to — show you understand the sort of angles the publication likes, and what its tone is.
And last, but definitely not least… the most important bit of the ‘travel journalist’ job title is ‘journalist’. You should know how to structure a piece, how to interview people, how to create atmosphere and sense of place, and so on. In the past, I’ve received a surprising number of pitches from people who obviously love travel but don’t know the basics of good story-telling; if you do, you’ll stand out.
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