Zigmunds Bekmanis, “Latvijas Avīze”, JSC “Latvijas Mediji”
Today, readers are approached by another issue of the magazine “Mājas Viesis” – this time for the seventh time since the publication was founded in the late 1990s.
Almost all this time, the editor-in-chief of the magazine is Dace Terzena, but for the last four years, her deputy and right-hand man has been journalist Ģirts Kasparāns – the most important people who take care of the magazine’s diverse content, loved by thousands of readers.
In the beginning, “Mājas Viesis” started to be published as a Saturday issue of the newspaper “Lauku Avīze”, in which the first pages were filled with a description of current events. Well “Mājas Viesis” is a full-fledged and independent magazine. We are coming out for the twenty-second year, ”says the magazine’s editor.
How has the content of the magazine and the interest of readers changed over the years?
D. Terzena: When “Mājas Viesis” started to come out, we were in a very advantageous position. These were the heyday of “Lauku Avīze”, and such an ambitious influx of electronic media had not yet begun. We were at the top of Latvian print media, and we were welcomed at home by tens of thousands of people.
The range of topics was chosen to talk about things that are immediately close and clear to each person, choosing the word “my” as the key word. For example, my house, my car, my life… In short – me and the world, because there was no desire to surprise anyone with scandals and other “yellow” news.
Emphasis was placed on the reference, quality text, beautiful pictures, so that, according to the name of the magazine, it would really be a welcome guest and interlocutor in every home. This was the case at the beginning and has remained largely unchanged until now, despite all the epoch-making changes that have affected us since the release of the Home Guest.
Ģirts Kasparāns: When I worked for a daily newspaper, I often had to prepare materials every day, writing news and reacting quickly to events in the country. When working at “Mājas Viesī”, there is more time to think and think about what and how to write.
Don’t jump on top of the first message and evaluate whether it is important and relevant, worth describing in more detail. Will what is important and relevant today will be the same in a week and later, because the magazine is published only twice a month and, in two weeks, the specific topic will no longer be relevant.
In a way, you need to be able to look to the future. There is also a difference in the work process. The material in the magazine is created over a longer period of time – as if it is easier, because the deadline does not put so much pressure, but also more difficult, because there is a greater sense of responsibility towards oneself and readers who expect more than just information from the magazine’s article. several times. Therefore, when writing much more seriously you need to think about quality.
How big a role do readers play in creating a “Home Guest”?
D. Terzena: At present, the thoughts expressed in the letters can be considered a thing of the past, as there are fewer and fewer items delivered by post. However, readers still reach us by telephone and in other electronic ways, expressing opinions both about the articles and praising and pointing out mistakes.
We are not robots, and sooner or later an error will inevitably come to fruition, because we are writing about an extremely wide range of topics. But in any case, it is also a great incentive for us. Of course, we rejoice in praise and feel uncomfortable with mistakes in the interpretation of a fact, always trying to correct it.
The most important thing is to understand whether our common vision, direction is correct and readers are satisfied. The audience of “Mājas Viesa” is no longer as numerous as it was in the heyday of the edition, but it is characterized by a stable trust of readers, which we can be proud of in a changing world.
Have there been any curiosities over the years? “Home Guest” always come on time?
As an editor, I have had to deal with very different situations. Admittedly, it was the case that the magazine had to be handed over to the printing house the next day, all the arrangements were ironic, but reliable authors suddenly announce the handing over of the commissioned work at the last minute for various justifiable reasons.
If I have six empty openings at that time, then I have to start breathing deeply and comfort myself with the idea that magazines tend to come out. Because it has never been the case that a magazine does not come out. Although there have been serious stressful situations – here suddenly the main character refuses a long-negotiated interview, something happens to the author or force majeure does not allow the material to become. A solution must always be found, there is nowhere to go. We must not disappoint readers.
Undoubtedly, working in journalism takes a lot of time, but it is not a lifetime. What do you like in your free time?
If I hadn’t chosen journalism, I would definitely have learned languages. At one point, for spiritual balance, I started learning German at the Goethe-Institut and reached the highest level. Well, I can’t imagine my life without the Goethe Institute and its library, without the literature I can find and read there.
Thanks to this rapidly progressing passion, I have read books that would otherwise never have fallen into my hands. It has allowed me to read in the original language a book about Thomas Mann’s family and a biography of the writer Hans Fallada – a fantastic reading material that has opened up a whole new world and given me extra energy.
At the moment, I focus on English in my spare time. Of course, I’m also fascinated by what others like – cats, gardens, beautiful pictures on Facebook with race and flowers – but I love learning endlessly.
Ģ. Casparan: I really like to compete, I really don’t like losing. I play chess online at the amateur level – so I can rejoice in victories and grieve at losses. To keep myself in physical shape, every now and then I played football and cycled around Latvia.
I have been to many small towns that I would not have leaned into otherwise. If a place needs to be highlighted, then it is definitely the oldest city in Latvia, Ludza. I also went to Liepāja at least a couple of times a year. The work of a journalist already gives me the opportunity to travel and meet many interesting people from whom I can recharge.
What would you like to do in the near future – thinking about both “Home Guests” and personal life?
D. Terzena: “Home Guests” must continue to be designed so that we can respectfully expect the thousandth issue of the magazine. Although the world is changing rapidly, I am convinced that today there is also a place for the print media, experiencing transformation and transformation processes.
In the future, the “Home Guest” would need satellite publications, which are already being developed. In my personal life, my dream is to make my country house in the Vidzeme Highlands such that it becomes a family gathering place where everyone can feel happy.
Where to look into the distance like white woodpeckers, sit on the terrace, drink wine, lemonade or something else and enjoy life. And I definitely want to see my grandchildren grow up, finish school and become smart, connected people.
Ģ. Casparan: We must continue to improve as a journalist. Although I have twenty years of experience, I should not sleep on my laurels. Now everyone who is not lazy can write and post their spiritual works on social networks.
As a result, we are overwhelmed by a huge flow of information, in which not everything is useful, therefore I consider it my duty to weed out the grain from the chaff, to prepare and present to the readers verified and reliable news in the “Home Guest”.
In addition, we remind our most loyal readers and subscribers that it is more profitable to subscribe to the magazine for the whole year – next year’s subscription price will not change and will be the same as this year.
But when it comes to personal life, I have to look for a wife as a meritorious old boy.