Sara van Gorp
“A weekend with
A SILVER LINING”
The weekend magazines at HLN (Nina) and AD, and the Dutch regional newspapers (Mezza) have become a regular ritual for one and a half million readers. In 2021, the magazines were well read and received high ratings. What’s more, Mezza has been completely revamped. Editors-in-chief Isabelle Cheyns (Nina) and Sara van Gorp (Mezza) talk about the power their titles hold.
Isabelle Cheyns (48)
Editor-in-chief of nina since 2020, previously an editorial coordinator at goed gevoel and nina.be.
“Nina’s strength is positivity.” There is plenty of gloom in the world already due to the pandemic and hard-hitting news. Which is why we present our sto- ries in a positive way. On a weekly basis, we attract more than 500,000 readers, who rate our magazine with an average score of 7.2. We see our role as complementary to the main news, sports news and regional news in the regular newspapers. Our aim is to brighten up the weekend with a silver lining, by sharing appealing, fun stories and pages full of fashion and beauty tips.
In doing so, Nina is the ultimate source of relaxation and inspiration for readers. We try to fulfil this role with great awareness. Each week, in a small team of experts, we think about the content of the cover, create mood boards and expand on the theme. In November, for instance, we produced an issue on natural-born optimists. Famous Belgians who, despite the burden of loss and illness, have a very positive attitude to life. This kind of a story was a particularly uplifting read in these gloomy days.
But that doesn’t mean that we only provide good news. If there is an elephant in the room, we will not shy away from it. Yet we also handle these issues with utmost respect. And
we’ve noticed that this approach has encouraged many Flemish celebs to appear in Nina. They are familiar with our pleasant collabo- rative style of working and are eager to share their stories with us.
In addition to the interview, which is something we devote generous amounts of time to, we also arrange a photo shoot and a video, taking care of the make-up and styling ourselves. Our guests appreciate this total experience and it also produces plenty of eye candy for the magazine: lovely visuals that lift your spirits. And of course, receiving positive feedback from read- ers (‘Amazing! This issue of Nina was so dreamy!’) is wonderful.”
Sara van Gorp
Sara van Gorp (48)
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF MEZZA SINCE 2020. PREVIOUSLY, A CREATIVE DIRECTOR AT SANOMA AND CHIEF EDITOR OF KEK MAMA.
“Mezza is the perfect magazine for a good weekend. There’s a good reason why that’s our slogan! Our aim is to brighten your mood. While a magazine is in tune with current events, it doesn’t need to address the hardcore obsessions of the day. Our goal is for people to pass on three things to someone else after reading Mezza, anything from a witty remark by a Dutch celebrity, to a great book recommendation or a refreshing insight.
That said, we don’t simply look at the world through rosecoloured glasses. Mezza also features controversial stories. Take, for instance, one of our recent productions, ‘Kind uit de Kast’ (My Kid’s Coming Out), showcasing beautiful pictures of an older lady with her tall daughter, a trans woman. We specialise in heartfelt stories too, such as the column by musician Jan Rot, who was told last year that he’s terminally ill. This is undeniably something worth shedding a tear over.
We produce this magazine for nearly one million subscribers. That’s a huge number, of course, and a very diverse group. We therefore strive to achieve as much diversity as possible in the 48 pages we have available, always searching for the right balance. If we notice a preponderance of women in a particular issue, we will include more men. Lots of seniors? Let’s add a youngster.
In March 2021, we transitioned from eight different titles to a single name: Mezza, introducing new sections, reformatting design and tweaking our tone of voice. A recent subscriber survey showed that Mezza is a better read and more highly rated. The average rating increased from 7.5 in 2018 to 7.8 and the reading time from 33 to 37 minutes. People email us to say, ‘You guys make my weekend even more enjoyable’, which I consider a great compliment. Of course we also receive angry reactions every now and then but even those are appreciated: a magazine is meant to make an impression. We don’t have to stay on everybody’s good side.”