Thursday, January 24, 2008

The End Of An Icon

The announcement that the Bulletin magazine will no longer be published is more than just the end of an era. It is the loss of a piece of Australia’s heritage. The Bulletin has been a link to own history, as well as being a significant part of it. Since its foundation in 1880, the Bulletin has reported weekly on Australian political matters, business affairs, and social life, as well as provided a platform for some of our most important literary talents.

The Bulletin published works by Henry Lawson, Banjo Patterson, Steele Rudd, and many other great Australian writers over the years. It hasn’t just recorded our history as a nation, it is our history. And now it’s all over.

Sadly the magazine has been published at a loss for some years now, and since the title passed into the control of private equity investors last year it was only a matter of time before something like this happened. It would be easy to ask if more could have been done to turn the fortunes of the magazine around, but when somebody is paying the bill they are entitled to ask if there is any prospect of seeing a return on their investment.

It is a sad loss, and I feel that the institution that is the Bulletin deserves better. I wonder how Rupert Murdoch might have handled it. For all of his reputation for ruthlessness, it was Mr. Murdoch who ran the Australian Newspaper at a loss for many years so that his empire would have a quality flagship masthead. Of course, that’s all hypothetical, and things seem to be different in the twenty first century.

In the end, if we really loved our Bulletin that much, perhaps we would have bought a copy more often and this would not have happened.

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