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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

SUSS.CO.ZA (article first published : 2004-12-22)

A new online magazine started by a group of radio presenters and journalists aims to start discussions and debate among its readers by publishing some of the "freshest new content focused on the good life in South Africa".

Billed as South Africa’s “most stylish independent online magazine”, Suss.co.za isn’t owned by a large media conglomerate but rather by those who write for it, design and publicise it.

Suss – all of which is freely available to the public - features writing on a range of lifestyle-oriented subjects and, critically, each article opens up a small forum where site visitors can comment, debate and discuss the content.

“We wanted, firstly, to create a home on the web for those who are looking for quality content – well-written, objective reviews and analysis with plenty of opportunity to engage with us and respond. It’s a lifestyle magazine focusing on the good life, but in a no-frills, unpretentious way. Secondly we wanted to have an outlet for our passion – writing – without having a ‘big-stick’ waved over us by someone looking to squeeze more out of the bottom line,” says Tony Lankester, described as “the closest thing Suss has to an Editor”!

“A group of us got together and decided to pool our expertise,” Tony continues. “We formed the Suss Editorial Collective which will share equally in any revenue the site makes, in exchange for contributing articles, reviews and columns – and the results are now live on the web.”

The “group” comprises a high concentration of experienced journalists from a range of backgrounds. The Food Editor is well-known Lyndall Popper, formerly Food Editor of The Star and Food and Home Entertaining Magazine. Deon Schoeman, Editor of Topcar Magazine and television presenter, is responsible for the roadtests and reviews that make up the Wheels section, while actor, broadcaster and writer Jack Mullen contributes a monthly “end of magazine column”.

“Those three are on fairly predictable beats – but what really makes Suss unique is the scope it gives its writers to explore new terrain,” Lankester said. “Journalists – like everyone else – are multi-dimensional but in other media they tend to specialise or focus on one or other area. Suss gives them the space to put their skills to work on any other subject that takes their fancy.”

So award-winning business writer Lucienne Fild files a regular New Products column for Suss, sports radio journalist Jon Gericke writes a technology column, and Assignments Editor for eTV News, Chris Nicklin, compiles a regular wine column.

Other regular contributions come from radio producer and freelance writer Jayne Morgan, whose contribution is a Travel column focusing on the local market, called Quick Travel. Lankester’s contribution is an ongoing biog called Tony’s 2c Worth. It’s no coincidence that many of the Suss writers’ names will be familiar to current or former SAfm listeners. Much of the team is drawn from contributors to the recently-cancelled programme SAfm Weekend, which was anchored by Lankester.

A key feature of Suss is the fact that visitors to the site can comment on every article and contribute their own discussions in the sites’ forums.




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