Getaway Magazine has a new editor

In an interview with Jade Castens

Sonya SchoemanSonya Schoeman has recently been appointed to lead Getaway into a new era of Travel writing and journalism. tourismZA caught up with her in order to introduce her to you, our readers, talk about the new challenges she faces and her plans for Getaway Magazine.

Sonya started her career in one of the most exciting periods in South-African history, working for a small local newspaper in Durban during the early 90’s. Armed with a solid foundation and background understanding of the print media industry, she felt and experienced the time of change had come not only for her country, but also for herself. Cape Town became her new home and the realm of the magazine was her new challenge. One she met head-on, spending years gaining insight and experience in the fields of travel editing, budget handling and of course some good creative writing –always looking for interesting angles and ways to tell a story. She was a long way from Durban –she had worked her way up to partner with Donna Hugh on Top Billing Magazine and moving on to editor of British Airways Magazine. I meet her as she is now. Editor to one of the leading travel magazines in South-Africa. Her inner strength and wisdom does not go unnoticed despite her humble, calm and inviting manner.

She explains the challenge facing any travel writer – interesting content. Using a brilliant analogy she proceeds with her explanation. The classic ‘eye-roll’, the natural reaction when asking any South African; “Will you be joining us for a photo-screening session of our vacation?!” To the average South-African the beautiful art of ‘vacationing’ –although an adored past-time- is NOT a spectator sport –another nationally adored past-time. But regardless of these facts, South-Africans simply don’t enjoy looking at photos of others being on holiday. According to Sonya, this is their greatest hurdle to be overcome. And also explains in a nutshell why Getaway have done so well. Reinventing themselves, changing their tactics and coming up with viable solutions during times of change and development. Getaway have always gotten it right to present traveling in an interesting and relevant manner in direct accordance to the changing trends in South-African society. Giving all credit of the magazine’s current status to her predecessors and their appointed management teams for excellently executing their jobs.

These days travel magazines have a bigger role to fill than merely suggesting great places to camp and what activities are on offer. In the modern world of ‘the magazine’ amazing digital photos are printed in the best quality possible. The travel writing community has never been bigger, individual writers have never enjoyed so much opportunity or access mechanisms in order to get their work seen by such a wide audience. Plans to champion on and meet the challenges of keeping tourism news relevant and interesting are her main concern. Dedicated to finding new ways of engaging with readers (at events like the Getaway show) with a sharp focus on exceptional story-telling while ensuring relevance of the articles. Photos and Images are very strong visual stimulants and a focus point and key factor of her strategy.
The hard-copy – Internet combination still holds an array of uses, possibilities and opportunities and will most certainly be explored even further. Although she does not foresee walking across the lawn, lying under a tree and getting lost in the pages of your favourite magazine ever going out of fashion she still acknowledges the importance and relevance the website holds and knows that taking advantage of the wonderful possibilities and opportunities are integral to keep the magazine interesting and relevant. The internet, social media and blogging are just some of the possibilities for growth the magazine can enjoy. Information technology will be used as enrichment to the magazine as a method to integrate the background information with what is read between the pages.

We at tourismZA wish Sonya and Getaway all the best with their new beginning in an industry that is forever changing and we hope to enjoy reading of their future tales of adventure