The Bulletin, RIP

The Bulletin is to join the the magazine graveyard in my spare room, if I can find a copy of its last issue, supposedly out today (I checked three newsagents, with no sign of it). Its weekly sales had dropped below 60,000, down from 100,000 in the mid-1990s.

The Bulletin hasn’t had a niche for a long time now. While it still occasionally broke stories, on a week-by-week basis it wasn’t providing much you could not find more promptly and at lower cost in the newspapers. I haven’t bought it on a regular basis for at least 15 years.

But I am still sorry to see it go. Handed-down copies from my grandfather’s subscription in the late 1970s and early 1980s were an important part of my political education. And it provided some of my earliest mainstream media coverage. In 1995, they ran a cover story under the title ‘Young, bright and right’,with a photo of me, John Brogden, Marise Payne and a bust of Sir Robert Menzies. The NSW Young Liberals used this cover in their promotional materials, and for years afterwards I’d meet Young Liberals in Sydney who knew of me via that cover.

So The Bulletin, RIP. (And wasn’t Crikey tacky in putting ‘The Bulletin does a Ledger’ in their subject header today?)

15 Responses to “The Bulletin, RIP

  • 1
    Sinclair Davidson
    January 24th, 2008 19:10

    Brogden and Payne are considered to be on the “right”?

  • 2
    Jason Soon
    January 24th, 2008 20:18

    I actually remember that Bulletin article. I obviously must’ve read it before I met Andrew.

  • 3
    Sans Blog
    January 24th, 2008 20:42

    Crikey really is the ‘gutter press’ of the online media.

  • 4
    Andrew Norton
    January 24th, 2008 20:46

    Jason – We knew each other by 1995. I just found a book review you wrote for the Summer 1995 issue of Policy.

  • 5
    Jason Soon
    January 24th, 2008 20:59

    Somehow I thought we didn’t know each other till 1996 because that was the first Liberty and Society year.

    It all seems like ancient history now.

  • 6
    Pedro S
    January 24th, 2008 21:36

    There is irony in blog entries regretting the demise of the bulletin.

  • 7
    Craig Ranapia
    January 25th, 2008 07:15

    And wasn’t Crikey tacky in putting ‘The Bulletin does a Ledger’ in their subject header today?

    ‘Crikey’ is all class — if you drop the C and the L, that is — and a pretty stinky one.

  • 8
    January 25th, 2008 08:13

    I remember an ANU linguist once telling me that he looked in The Bully for new developments in the use of language: if it had appeared in The Bully, then, to him, a word or phrase had moved from (and I use these words loosely) ‘unofficial’ to ‘accepted mainstream’.

    David Haselhurst’s column by itself was worth the cover price.

    Wednesday lunchtimes here see our division form a brainstrust to answer the Bully’s quiz. Well, we used to.

    What a shame. I would have thought that the privateers would have tried to sell the brand before closing it down.

  • 9
    January 25th, 2008 10:32

    “I remember an ANU linguist once telling me that he looked in The Bully for new developments in the use of language”

    That was very cunning of him.

  • 10
    January 25th, 2008 10:51

    Comments Police!! Comments Police!!

  • 11
    January 26th, 2008 11:08

    The content of The Bulletin became so bad that copies in dentists waiting rooms remained unopened.

  • 12
    January 27th, 2008 23:20

    I vaguely recall that cover!

  • 13
    Andrew E
    January 28th, 2008 22:14

    I too recall the Norton/Payne/Brogden cover, and draw no link between that and the fate of the magazine. It was also important to my early education on public affairs; I now realise that the articles that educated us had been written by Bob Carr and Tony Abbott.

    As I’ve said elsewhere I think the publication was embalmed before it was dead and took too few risks, which other publications have since sprung up to take (including Policy, it must be said).

  • 14
    Andrew Norton
    January 29th, 2008 06:07

    Policy has a very small niche, but it does offer things other magazines don’t. The Bulletin no longer had a niche.

  • 15
    Andrew Norton » Blog Archive » A reborn Bulletin?
    April 26th, 2008 10:44

    […] My Bulletin obituary may have been premature. Reports in several papers over the last few days – the most detailed was in the Weekend Australian – reveal that businessman Peter Hall is considering buying the masthead and turning it into a weekly magazine of comment and analysis, like The Spectator or the New Yorker. “I believe Australia needs an intelligent weekly magazine of comment and analysis.” […]