Bulletin completes 21 years of publishing; Looking forward to many more

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

On July 4, 1994, The Bulletin’s first issue appeared in Brazoria County. Yes, we timed the first issue to coincide with the holiday. It’s easier to remember.
The issue you are holding in your hands, or are reading on your screen, finishes 21 years of publishing. On July 7, we’ll start our 22nd year.
And some people swore that this little paper wouldn’t even last even 20 years.
We have gone through quite a few twists and turns over the decades, but our priority always has been to put out the best product we could on a weekly basis, maximizing our resources and doing much of it ourselves.
It’s been a great experience, and apparently the community thinks so also, because it has been supporting the paper all this time. Advertisers must think it’s a good investment, because all the issues have been advertiser supported, since the paper is distributed free of charge.
We’re not an ordinary free weekly paper. The Bulletin has a national news wire subscription, a cartoon syndication that gives us access to hundreds of cartoons weekly, independent features exclusive to The Bulletin, and local stories about the community.
And, we have this column each week, which has generated quite a following over the years.
We’re a journalist-run paper. Both Sharon and I have worked in journalism before we started The Bulletin. We weigh quality and quantity carefully each week. We emphasize good writing and story placement.
There are good publications in this area, and we wanted to do something different, changing the emphasis a little over the years. The business has changed over the decades, and we have tried to make our moves to keep the paper financially healthy and an interesting read.
It’s no secret that the print industry has taken a hit from the Internet, and the industry as a whole failed to recognize how destructive this new fangled electronic gadget would be, and responded it accordingly.
We were the first in this area to put our product on the Internet. Granted, it was pretty simple, with just a story thread running down. But back in those days, big papers that were also on it weren’t much more complicated.
Because the industry missed a window of opportunity to join the cybernet generation, jobs started disappearing and newspapers folded. I have seen a drastic shakeup in this business since joining it as a reporter for the Daily Tribune in Bay City in 1979.
We had competition back then also, among each other and radio and television, but there were plenty of pieces of the pie for everyone to share. The Internet gobbled up a lot of the pieces before most newspapers realized what was happening.
We survived all those challenges as a small weekly, and kept on printing, even when some of our print compadres fell by the wayside. It was rough at times, but in this business, good times are combined with bad times. The key is to make sure there is more good than bad.
We could not put out the paper without advertiser support, and for that we are very grateful. Sharon and I hope that those who have advertised with us have made a nice profit and had a good experience.
But a paper without readers cannot exist either, and we thank you for coming back each week and reading The Bulletin. And we also appreciate all the stores and restaurants that allow us to distribute the paper at their locations.
Sharon and I intend to do this a while longer. We’d be bored without chasing deadlines.
So, look forward to many more years of The Bulletin, including free ticket giveaways, lots of local stories and – this column. It will be here no matter where I am.
There is this newfangled thing called the Internet machine that lets me file it from anywhere.