Five questions for the editor of Air Niugini’s ‘Paradise’ Magazine, Robert Upe

The editor of Air Niugini’s Paradise magazine, Robert Upe, oversaw a complete transformation of the magazine when Business Advantage International took over as publisher two years ago. We asked him what the aims were for the new look.

Nusa Island Retreat in New Ireland Province.

Nusa Island Retreat in New Ireland Province, one of many PNG destinations featured in Paradise magazine this year.

Robert Upe (RU): We wanted to create an international-standard magazine with high editorial values in content and design. Interesting articles, accuracy and strong visual appeal. They were the immediate cornerstones of the new-look magazine.

A Paradise magazine cover

A recent ‘Paradise’ magazine cover promoting travel to Milne Bay.

Business Advantage PNG (BAPNG): How does the range of articles compare now to a few years ago?

RU: Since we took over in late 2014, Paradise has been structured into three key compartments: travel, lifestyle, and business. Many Air Niugini passengers are corporate travellers, so we deliberately set out to include a business section.

‘I’ve journeyed around the world for years as a travel writer … but PNG’s natural beauty and the richness of its culture are as impressive as anything.’

I like to claim we even started a trend, because in 2014 there were few, if any, airline magazines covering business in a meaningful way. Now I see a good many with business coverage. Geographically, we have reined in the breadth of our stories.

You won’t find pieces about Warsaw and Kentucky, but there’s plenty about Asia and the Pacific, where Air Niugini flies. The strategy is to cover the region especially well, and to use original content.

BAPNG: How difficult is it to find enough fresh stories for each edition?

RU: I’ve seen older copies of Paradise that ran to about 36 pages, but we’re regularly publishing 148 pages or more.

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However, there is no shortage of story material, whether it’s a medical ship delivering supplies to a remote PNG community, a colorful dance festival, the discovery of a new species in the jungle, or a ripping adventure yarn of kayakers making the first-ever descent down a wild river. There are so many wonderful stories that it’s hard to fit them all in.

paradise

In The Land of Volcanoes, from the July/August issue of ‘Paradise’.

The difficulty, though, is sometimes finding writers and photographers to get to some of the more remote places and towns that we want to cover.

We use a combination of talented local writers and photographers, as well as travel journalists from other countries. Among our contributors are specialist business writers, award-winning travel writers, and photographers who have taken pictures for National Geographic.

BAPNG: Paradise is an iconic publication in PNG. What do you think makes it special?

RU: We’re so much more than an in-flight magazine. As I said earlier, we aim to embrace the PNG ethos, to showcase the festivals and events, to put the spotlight on local fashion, interview budding artists, to celebrate the big events and to recognise success stories: from small-business operators, to sports people and diplomats representing PNG in overseas postings.

It’s done in a warm and engaging style. I think our readers like what they see. It’s pleasing that so many take copies of the magazine off planes, and we’re regularly contacted for copies to be sent to PNG schools so they can be used as a reading resource.

BAPNG: What has been your most memorable moment so far?

RU: My visit to PNG early this year was a delight. I’ve journeyed around the world for years as a travel writer—from Africa to Antarctica—but PNG’s natural beauty and the richness of its culture are as impressive as anything.

I surfed at Nusa Island Retreat, toured the beautiful islands of Milne Bay, and hiked to the top of Mount Tavurvur at Rabaul—all remarkable experiences. I hope my enthusiasm for the country comes out in the pages of Paradise.

Robert Upe is Editor of Paradise, the in-flight magazine of Air Niugini.

Comments

  1. Kanau Iobuna says:

    I like the Paradise magazine, culturally, socially and economically enriched and above all very educational. Should include in our curricullum. I use it alot for my children school assignments. I admit I am one of them who travel the country so many times and one could imagine how many Paradise magazines I have taken out of the aircraft. Very interesting magazine

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