Our days are numbered: Flanders Today contract cancelled


The government of Flanders has declined to put the newspaper out to bid, meaning that it will cease publishing on 1 October

Is this goodbye?

The Flemish government has announced that it will not rebid the Flanders Today project, meaning this newspaper – both online and print – will shut down on 1 October.

The staff and management of Flanders Today have decided to ask our readers for their support in our efforts to save the newspaper.

Flanders Today is the product of a bid request issued by the Flemish government’s foreign affairs department. Media companies bid on the project, and the department uses a number of criteria to choose which company to award the contract to, including price, available resources and design.

The project has undergone three bids since 2007 and has been awarded to Mediahuis each time. Its subsidiary Ackroyd Publications – an English-language publisher in Belgium for 55 years – is responsible for editorial and management. The last contract, which runs for a period of four years, is set to expire on 30 September.

After 10 years, the foreign affairs department has decided not to rebid the project. It said that the decision was based on an audit carried out earlier this year on available English-language products, which include the website Fans of Flanders, VRT’s English-language news site FlandersNews and Flanders Today.

The audit was overwhelmingly positive of the quality and impact of Flanders Today but had two main criticisms: It was not successful at promoting the foreign affairs department and “FlandersNews offers a comparable product at a lower cost”.

The staff and management of Flanders Today were taken by surprise by the government’s decision. We have decided to ask our readers for their support in our efforts to save Flanders Today. Please visit the website SaveFlandersToday.eu for more information.

Photo, from left: Flanders Today staff Lisa Bradshaw, Alan Hope, Sally Tipper and Bartosz Brzezinski

This article first appeared on 15 May

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Graham Weir:( Shame on them. Your site is well written, clean, efficient, to the point and always interesting. I'll scoot over to the SaveFlandersToday.eu site now. Be positive guys.
Lisa BradshawThank you!
Paul GleyeI am a professor in the United States and bring students to Belgium every year. I read Flanders Today every week - it often contains news and information that I convey to my students so they can better appreciate Belgian society and culture.
Lisa BradshawThat's wonderful to hear! Please visit www.saveflanderstoday.eu to see how you can help us in our fight to keep the paper going! #SaveFlandersToday
Mike JarreyI've read pretty much every issue from front to back since I moved to Belgium 6 years ago. All our UK visitors enjoy reading it too, I wonder if the foreign affairs dept thinks about this? Your reach goes far beyond the expats in Belgium... I am very disappointed to be reading this, and will look into ways I can help. In the meantime, thank you. Like many of us who have moved here permanently, FT has been an important part of a (sometimes very difficult) integration. This is not measurable in euros, and frankly your presence has been priceless at times. Fingers crossed an organisation that is slightly less short-sighted will take over and enable you to continue to flourish. Regards, Mike Jarrey.
Steve nThis is a real shame, your newsletter and website have been the best way to keep up to date with what is happening in Belgium. I live in Australia and recently we spend between 1 and 2 months in Belgium most years, your website keeps us in touch with what's happening while we're on the other side of the planet. All the best for the future.

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