Editorial: Saying goodbye to 10 years of print

Summary

Flanders Today publishes its final print version today based on a funding decision by the government of Flanders

Connecting expats across Flanders

This week Flanders Today published its very last print edition, exactly 10 years after it began.

It was October of 2007 when I found myself putting together the paper’s very first cover story. I had been working for the venerable The Bulletin, Belgium’s – and continental Europe’s – very first English-language newsmagazine.

For an American journalist fresh off the boat, it was a great job. But there was one problem: It focused on Brussels, and I lived in Ghent.

I was a bit of an anomaly at The Bulletin. I was the only one who didn’t live in Brussels, and the only one who didn’t speak French.

And then the publisher was awarded the government contract to produce Flanders Today. Management came down to editorial looking for someone who spoke Dutch. A colleague pointed at me.

I joined the first editor-in-chief, Derek Blyth, to come up with editorial strategies. The government of Flanders owned the title, but full editorial control was in our hands.

Digital focus

There were two goals: Give international journalists who didn’t speak Dutch an idea of what’s going on north of Brussels, and inform expats in Belgium and investors and officials living outside of it all about the region.

And we did. I became editor-in-chief in 2011 and carried on Derek’s mission of balancing news with feature articles on all things Flemish, from the latest breakthroughs at the Institute of Tropical Medicine to grassroots movements changing urban scenes to the latest exploits of enfant terrible artists like Jan Fabre and Wim Delvoye.

Like expats do, we created a community. And hundreds of thousands of readers soon joined us

For 10 years, Flanders Today has given me the opportunity to provide expats living in the region with what I felt was missing when I arrived here: information crucial to getting us connected to our communities.

Along the way there have been some key players that have made Flanders Today what it is now. Alan Hope has covered current affairs, politics and business for us since the beginning. Deputy editor Sally Tipper has spent blurry-eyed nights and weekends subbing text.

Andy Furniere has spent years honing our coverage of the science and education sectors. Linda Thompson became our first sub-editor when we needed more help after the new website was launched four years ago. And Bartosz Brzeziński followed her lead after she moved on.

Like expats do, we created a community. And hundreds of thousands of readers soon joined us.

Now the print version is coming to an end, but don’t worry: We’ll still be online at flanderstoday.eu. Together with the government, we are continuing to work on exactly what we’ll look like in the future. We’ll see you there.

Download the pdf of our final issue here

Photo: Our final issue, editor Lisa Bradshaw