Shaping The Stories Everyone Is Talking About On Saturdays: Meet Good Weekend’s Editor Katrina Strickland

Shaping The Stories Everyone Is Talking About On Saturdays: Meet Good Weekend’s Editor Katrina Strickland

In the 2020 film News of the World, Tom Hanks played an 1870s character who travelled through remote towns of America charging people a nickel to hear him read from a newspaper. In this social media-driven world, in which we’re all often alone with our phones, Hanks’ character feels like an artefact of a long-forgotten past.

Yet you need not look too far below the surface to realise that the human spirit’s craving for shared experiences is alive and well. Good Weekend editor Katrina Strickland (featured image) was reminded of this during the pandemic, when Instagram and the Good Weekend inbox would light up week in, week out with photos of people doing The Quiz together over Zoom – family groupings, friendship circles, work colleagues. 

“It was incredibly heartwarming, a sign of the power of a group activity to make us feel better about ourselves and the world,” said Strickland, who has been editor since mid-2017 of the magazine that’s inserted every Saturday into The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age

So popular is The Quiz that two devotees set up their own Instagram account in its honour. Now run by Good Weekend, it has more than 43,000 followers. The magazine has further extended the brand by instigating live quiz nights as part of Good Food Month.

Strickland learnt about the incredible reach of Good Weekend’s games the hard way, having decided when she took over to kill off the Get It puzzle that accompanies The Quiz every Saturday. The reader backlash was such that she quickly brought it back.

“Get It writer Greg Bakes was very gracious about it. He just laughed and said, ‘Someone else tried to cut it once and got the same reaction,’” Strickland said. “A magazine with the history and broad audience of Good Weekend – 37 years and more than 800,000 readers – is one in which that audience has very firm opinions of what they like and don’t like. And they’re never afraid to tell you.” 

Reader favourites include Two of Us, Danny Katz’s Modern Guru and Benjamin Law’s Dicey Topics, but the heart and soul of the magazine is its features, penned by experts in the craft of longform writing such as Jane Cadzow, Amanda Hooton, Tim Elliott, Melissa Fyfe and Konrad Marshall.       

Stories on subjects as diverse as celebrity chef Jock Zonfrillo, cancel culture, Attorney-General Michaelia Cash, the Dark Emu debate, Sydney fraudster Melissa Caddick and Melbourne court clerk Ashleigh Petrie rate incredibly well online, attracting strong engagement on social media too.

“What’s interesting to me is that in a time of bite-sized news and supposedly short attention spans, it’s these stories of 4000, 5000 words that perform the best – with those who’ve grown up with us but also with 20 and 30 somethings, who might come for The Quiz but then stay for the features,” said Strickland. “That tells me that we’re all actually craving substance, a definitive story on a subject that allows us to grapple with it in all its shades of grey and nuance.”

That’s particularly so, she said, in an age of spin. “We’re all very marketing savvy these days, and we increasingly want the unvarnished truth. The rise of the real on Instagram – stars like Celeste Barber and The Inspired Unemployed – reflects that, too. News magazines have always played in that space, and I think, ironically, the times are coming back to suit that aspect of what we do. People are fed up with nicey-nicey content that actually doesn’t say much.”

Strickland says her team’s aim is to publish the cover story everyone is talking about on a Saturday – at the kids footy game that morning or at a dinner party that night. “We’re looking for the issues and people Australians are fascinated by, and to catch them just before everyone else registers that they’re interested in them.”

52 tricks of expansion

At the other end of the spectrum, Good Weekend has in recent years extended its 31-year old 52 Weekends Away annual issue into two other 52 properties, 52 Dream Destinations and 52 Top Wineries. Where 52 Weekends Away is about national travel – Strickland expanded it a few years ago from covering mostly NSW and Victoria getaways to include every state and territory – 52 Dream Destinations is international. 52 Top Wineries, meanwhile, is a co-production with Huon Hooke’s wine website The Real Review.  

These special annual issues have proven popular with state tourism bodies and automotive advertisers, who have done gatefolds, reversebacks, mini-magazines and false covers to capitalise on the fact that these issues tend to sit on coffee tables and in magazine racks for longer.

Another innovation has been Style Edit, a quarterly issue started last year that includes more lifestyle, fashion and design content, “but done in that Good Weekend way – with intelligence and rigour and, as always, beautiful writing”. 

And so while Tom Hanks’ character in News of the World may seem quaint, our shared passion for exploring what’s happening around us and why – and more than ever, for getting the real story – is very much a 21st century thing.

Check out how NRMA unlocked the power of Good Weekend in our latest Rethink Ink creative showcase HERE.




Latest News

Elon Musk Mocks Albo After ESafety Wins Court Injunction Against X
  • Technology

Elon Musk Mocks Albo After ESafety Wins Court Injunction Against X

X Corp has been ordered to take down videos of an alleged Sydney stabbing incident until a full court hearing can take place tomorrow. Lead image: Elon Musk mocks Australia’s PM on X, claiming Anthony Albanese he has been ‘advertising’ the social media platform. Albanese said Musk could not lecture Australians about free speech.  Elon […]

Real Estate Developer In Hot Water Over “Sexually Exploitative” OOH Campaign
  • Advertising

Real Estate Developer In Hot Water Over “Sexually Exploitative” OOH Campaign

A billboard advertisement for real estate developer Orchard Piper has had a complaint against it upheld by the Ad Standards Community Panel after it was found that sexually exploitative images used in the campaign breached the AANA Code of Ethics. The billboard advertisement promoting a real estate development featured several images, including one of a […]

Entries For Five Decades Of Advertising Graduates Awards Close On Monday
  • Advertising

Entries For Five Decades Of Advertising Graduates Awards Close On Monday

Entries for the QUT Business School’s Five Decades of Advertising awards close on Monday. The competition celebrates 50 years of advertising being taught in Australian universities and will identify an outstanding advertising graduate who made a significant impact on the industry in each of those five decades. QUT offered the first university program in 1974, […]

Cadbury Extends Commitment To Women’s Sport With Sweet New Wallaroos Deal
  • Marketing

Cadbury Extends Commitment To Women’s Sport With Sweet New Wallaroos Deal

Just five years ago, Australia’s female Rugby Union team was still utilising chocolate fundraising boxes to go on tour. Now, three years after first signing, Cadbury Australia has elevated its commitment to the team, signing on as the Principal Partner for the next six years. Lead image: L-R – Wallaroos Eva Karpani, Piper Duck, Director […]

Campfire X & Nando’s Partner To Acknowledge Traditional Land Owners Across Australia
  • Marketing

Campfire X & Nando’s Partner To Acknowledge Traditional Land Owners Across Australia

Campfire x has announced its partnership with Nando’s, home of PERi-PERi flame-grilled chicken, to support First Nations communities and acknowledge country. This collaboration marks a significant step towards promoting meaningful relationships with First Nations people and promoting cultural recognition based on mutual respect. Together, Campfire x and Nando’s have already launched cultural awareness campaigns to […]

Lisa Ronson, Naysla Edwards & Ben Hill Join MFA Awards Signature Judging Panel
  • Advertising

Lisa Ronson, Naysla Edwards & Ben Hill Join MFA Awards Signature Judging Panel

The Media Federation of Australia (MFA) has announced the six senior marketers who will be judging the 2024 MFA Awards as Signature Judges. The 2024 MFA Awards Signature Judges are: Martin Brown, General Manager, Nestlé and AANA Chair Naysla Edwards, VP Customer Marketing & Member Experience, American Express ANZ Ben Hill, Chief Marketing Officer, Mars […]

Connect Hearing ‘Sounds Good’ Platform Via Bread Agency
  • Campaigns

Connect Hearing ‘Sounds Good’ Platform Via Bread Agency

Working closely with Connect Hearing’s marketing team, Bread Agency developed a new communications platform and creative tagline ‘Sounds Good’ to simply communicate the benefit that prioritising hearing health with Connect Hearing can have on Aussies. According to healthdirect, one in six Australians experience hearing loss, with noise exposure being one of the most common causes. […]

Ipsos Iris Data: Australians Prioritise Entertainment & Sports Over Serious News In March
  • Marketing

Ipsos Iris Data: Australians Prioritise Entertainment & Sports Over Serious News In March

Australians sought out a mix of more light-hearted entertainment and sports news content to balance the serious news events occurring locally and internationally, according to the Ipsos iris data for March. Key celebrity and entertainment news, such as the AFL and NRL season launches, particularly the NRL Las Vegas event, the Sydney Mardi Gras parade, […]

Fur Media Partners With Mad Paws To Support Advertisers
  • Advertising

Fur Media Partners With Mad Paws To Support Advertisers

Fur Media, Australia’s first-ever pet-focused media channel, has announced a unique partnership with leading online pet platform Mad Paws. This partnership will enable advertisers to reach the estimated 1.6 million pet owners more efficiently. Lead image: Fur Media’s Nic Cann, Corey Dawson, Saskia Parton and Michael Ryan Under the partnership, Fur Media will exclusively handle […]

MAXIBON Drops Epic Flavour Collaboration Via SICKDOGWOLFMAN
  • Campaigns

MAXIBON Drops Epic Flavour Collaboration Via SICKDOGWOLFMAN

Historians will long speak of this day with reverence. Poets will pen odes. The state of Victoria will probably get another public holiday out of it. The day one of the greatest flavour combinations known to humankind collided inside arguably the greatest iced confectionery in world history – giving us the much heralded ‘PBJ BON’. […]

OMA & RSL Join Forces For ANZAC Day
  • Advertising

OMA & RSL Join Forces For ANZAC Day

ANZAC Day's a great reminder of those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Also a reminder not to be a knob during two-up.