500 issues of The Bulletin

>> James Kilner, the editor, takes a quick look at how the weekly newspaper has morphed and grown over the past 11 years.

This is the 500th issue of The Bulletin, a milestone that I was never sure we’d reach, never sure that I wanted to reach. So, after editing each of these 500 issues, will you allow me a little space for a retrospective and a thanks?

The first Bulletin was a very different beast. It was published on June 16 2010, was one-page long and contained seven short news stories (the main story was coverage of ethnic fighting in Osh) and an analysis. It was also called The Conway Bulletin and was written in a heavy typewriter font.

The newspaper layout is now clearer and more classic, carries photos, publishes eight pages of news every week (in two distinct sections) and has a more consistent story flow from across the region. Importantly, correspondents help with stories, giving The Bulletin its insight and authority.

In 2019, we rebranded as the Central Asia and South Caucasus Bulletin, perhaps, the biggest moment in The Bulletin’s development, so far. By then, it felt that we had earned the right to stand up and add the region to our masthead.

As for Conway, it wasn’t a reference to a town in north Wales, nor is it my mother’s maiden name, nor the name of my dog (he is called Darwin, by the way).

Conway was Martin Conway, an English adventurer and mountaineer who straddled the 19th and 20th centuries and travelled in both the South Caucasus and Central Asia. When I named the Bulletin after him in 2010 I wasn’t sure whether we would have the longevity to merit a more classic newspaper name to represent Central Asia and the South Caucasus. Instead, I aimed to capture Conway’s spirit for my newspaper — independent, subversive, resilient.

In 500 issues, The Bulletin has reported on war, famine and uprisings; the ebbing of US interest and the rise of China; corporate success stories, corruption and economic collapse; revolutions, elections and a coup. All, I hope, with the evenhanded, fair and rigorous Reuters values that I learnt as a younger correspondent.

It’s been bumpy and messy at times, news reporting is, but this was the assignment that we chose.

My biggest thanks, though, need to be reserved for The Bulletin’s subscribers. This is a fully independent newspaper, doing, I think, an important job in a complicated, and wonderful, region. Without the support – financial and emotional – from loyal readers we would have wilted. Instead, we have grown. Thank you.

>> First published in issue 500 of The Bulletin on Sept. 15 2021


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