UPDATE: Flanders Today contract cancelled

Summary

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

UPDATE 26 July 2017

Since launching the Save Flanders Today campaign, we have met with representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs and presented a proposal for a limited version of Flanders Today that would cost significantly less money and still offer our readers some of the quality journalism they have come to expect.

That meeting took place on 30 May. The government representatives responded enthusiastically to the proposal and promised to get back to us as soon as possible. Up to now, we have had no response.

The original article announcing the decision to shut down Flanders Today is below. Please don't forget to visit our dedicated campaign website to help Save Flanders Today!

 

15 May, 2017   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