The Bulletin starts 25th year of publishing

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

On July 4, 1994, The Bulletin published its first edition. It was a test to see if an alternative weekly could thrive in Brazoria County.

We decided to take a chance on the notion that a free weekly that is not reliant on classified advertising would do well throughout the county by publishing information that is interesting, informative and sometimes critical.

That was 24 years ago. This issue marks the beginning of our 25th year of publication.

At first, we had to decide some important things, like who was going to be the publisher, me or Sharon Toth, my wife and the mother of our three children. We decided that we would both be publishers, which merely means that we would do whatever it takes to get the paper out each week.

With our journalism, marketing and newspaper production backgrounds, we jumped into the county’s weekly newspaper business, and never looked back.

It has been an incredible experience for 24 years. We made our share of mistakes, but none really big enough that would have financially threatened the paper.

We are adamant about spelling and grammar. We double and triple check all the copy. And still a few mistakes slip through. That’s just the nature of the business. No matter how much you edit a page, something may be overlooked.

We have changed the focus of the paper several times throughout the decades to conform with the changes in the community. We have focused on a specific niche of readers, ones we thought would be a good fit for us and our advertisers.

One of my editors when I was still working for a daily paper told me that she had tried publishing a weekly, and it was the hardest thing she ever did. After putting out the first few issues, I agreed.

But it got easier. We learned a lot, and we learned it very quickly. We were innovative, frugal, multitasking and energetic. In other words, we did everything we could fit into 24 hours to get the next paper published at a profit.

Digital publishing has made production a lot easier. We switched to a totally digital production process in 2000.

We were also the first publication in Brazoria County to go on the Internet. We started posting our paper weekly in a very basic format, but we were there while everyone else was still just planning to be there.

We also posted live election updates in 1996. It helps that one of the paper’s publishers is a big electronics geek who has never been able to resist the newest, affordable and most sensible technology when it comes to publishing.

I can honestly tell you, dear readers, that not a single day during these 24 years has been bad or regrettable. They have all been enjoyable.

We are doing exactly what we want. We got into this business to make a difference and have a lot of fun and satisfaction. We have achieved them all. It has been a labor of love.

When will it end? We are still pretty young, so not for a while. And chances are that The Bulletin will continue after we retire, whenever that may be. It won’t be soon.

Thank you, dear readers, for making this dream possible. Without you, there is no advertising and no paper. I hope you have enjoyed our 24 years of publishing The Bulletin, and you pick up a copy each week for many more years to come.

We appreciate your loyalty, and we hope we can continue to earn it for a very long time to come.