HOME ARCHIVE 2019

 

Bulletin completes 25 years of publishing, keeps rolling

By John Toth / The Bulletin

This is the last issue of our 25th year. Next week, we start our 26th year of publishing The Bulletin.
There have been a lot of ups and downs over this quarter century, but, fortunately for us, more ups than downs.

Back in the early 1990s, Sharon, my wife and Bulletin co-publisher, and I got this crazy idea of starting our own weekly newspaper. What could go wrong?

We had three small children, and I was working for the Houston Chronicle as a staff writer. At first, the thought of walking away from the company’s full health insurance coverage and a guaranteed paycheck every two weeks seemed crazy – and scary.

But as we charted our course, it looked more and more feasible – although still scary.
Who would give up a perfectly good job with a guaranteed paycheck, working for the fourth largest newspaper in the country at the time?

Me.

In February of 1995, I walked away from all of it. By that time, The Bulletin had been printed for about six months. In my free time, I was doing production and family chores. Sleep was not a top priority.

Something had to give. I had to choose between security and striking out on my own and seeing where it would take us. Most people I know would have chosen security. Even my older son, on our way back from Europe in 1994, urged me not to quit. But he was only 10. What did he know?

I grew up in a pretty insecure environment, country hopping for a while, learning new languages, making new friends, leaving friends behind. I was used to insecurity. Sharon was not a stranger to it, either.

Why not? Let’s do it.

So, with three kids, we started an adventure with no guarantees of how long it would last, or if it would be successful.

What’s the worst thing that could happen? We’d lose some money, and I’d go back to working for a corporation again. At least we had tried.

It has worked out pretty well so far, I would say. We started it from scratch by purchasing about $3,000 in computer and printing gear, and some layout tools and furnishings.

Back in those days, we pasted up the paper on layout sheets. Pagination, laying out the paper digitally, came six years later for us. We used a desktop printing program I found in the Wal-mart discount rack for like $10. We kept it for many years until we switched to the Adobe package. It really wasn’t a bad program, perhaps a little ahead of its time.

On July 4, 1994, we distributed our first issue, which actually made a small profit. There was no certainty of keeping that streak going, but we didn’t care. The paper was off the ground and flying – with assistance and at low altitude, but in the air. That’s all that mattered.

That was 25 years ago, and I, for one, never regretted giving up the corporate life, even though the Chronicle was a good company to work for. I have not since received a payroll check, although I have written a few over the years. The Bulletin paved the way to other business ventures, but it has always been my number one labor of love. It’s not just a newspaper. It’s part of my life.

Dear reader, I hope that you have enjoyed reading our weekly paper all these years. If you have just discovered us, read us for a few weeks. We tend to grow on you.

Several publications have come and gone during our tenure, as times changed and newspapering got more complicated. We have made the changes along the way to accommodate our new surroundings, and have been rewarded with being able to publish all these years.

As the years roll on, there will come a day when we’ll have to step back a little and plan to do other things, like to travel around the country and world, or something like that. We have already put plans in place to make sure that The Bulletin continues to publish. But that day is way off, so we’re not saying our goodbyes just yet.

Thank you, dear readers and all our advertisers, for allowing us to do what we love for all these years. We are forever grateful for this opportunity. I hope you have enjoyed reading The Bulletin as much as we have enjoyed bringing it to you weekly, and that you will enjoy it for many years to come.

(I look forward to hearing from you on this subject. Send me a note at john.bulletin@gmail.com. You can even send an old-fashioned letter to: The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516.}

john.bulletin@gmail.com.