3 June 2022
bulletin&record cover

The bulletin&record closes down

bulletin&record cover
bulletin&record cover

It is a sad day when the Bulletin and Record closes. The Lusaka Lowdown also closed its doors. As a fellow publisher, I have to ask do we have to get into the gossip or political genre to capture an audience worth supporting a quality publication?

I enjoy a good quality read based on factual journalism, the kind of read you can return to in a few months to reignite your memory or win an argument. The bulletin&record was just that. A  diverse publication with articles touching on tech news, political news, art news and well…just about anything under the Zambian sun. The magazine was a monthly publication, costing only K10.00 and available in the leading supermarket chains.  The image below shows the type of pieces they could bravely question, our inbuilt stereotypes of what we accept as our normal.

bulletin&record
bulletin&record

We have lost a great magazine, in gloss least we forget! The nuances of great image capture, copy and editorial work are lost. I question how a quality K10.00 monthly publication can suffer low sales and a more negative uptake than a daily specialising in speculation? What does it say about our reading culture as a people, our ability to appreciate quality work and our love for the written word? The world over, we have heard the doldrums for the traditional, print media but here in Zambia we are putting up tombstones. Print media is dying and its remnants litter our memories:

  • bulletin&record
  • The Lowdown
  • Nkani Kulture
  • Trendsetters

We can stand and question their business decisions, the lack of a focused online strategy, not building additional distribution channels, but for now we will just stand quietly wave good-bye to the titans of quality print. Instead, we will enjoy the hawking of other print publications at our traffic circles.

bulletin&record 50years cover
bulletin&record 50years cover

 

 

Vinni

A wantreprenuer always hungry for new opportunities. A passion for technology and heart for influencing people.

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8 thoughts on “The bulletin&record closes down

  1. Running a publication in Zambia is very hard. I have worked for a few and run one before. It is hard!!!!!

  2. Publishing costs are very high in Zambia. From printing to distribution and margins on the price, you’d think you’re running a charity! One thing publishers are not learning is to increase revenue streams beyond offloading their publications and hoping it sells.

    I’ve worked for publishers who thought their publication was well known and did not invest in growing readership through tie-ins. Ideas such as having the publications included in the Sunday or Friday editions of local newspapers for a fraction of the cost would increase sales rather than have copies sitting in supermarkets and filling station convenience stores.

    You have to think beyond news-stand as a sales point in Zambia. Work with the likes of inter-city transporters to carry your magazine at a price, offer passengers the option to purchase – who wouldn’t buy a magazine to read on a five hour journey?

    Perhaps a lesson has been taught that compelling covers, great content and decent layout + design are not enough to survive publishing 2.0.

  3. A great shame really, costs the same as a copy of The Post but packs SUPER informative and entertaining new perspective on what journalism and publishing should be in Zambia. I bought my 1st copy in September 2013 and it was and remains a revelation. I have remained an avid reader of this great publications that sells for peanuts and i hope it will not TOTALLY die. The brand is still alive if you can find other channels to keep it alive, and evolving. Notice throughout i have spoken of B&R in the present continuous tense, it is because i believe it can be scaled back an kept so that the quality journalism that is in the dna of the publication can be retained to be sampled by future generations in a publishing landscape devoid of reading lover grade quality of work. Mpaka next time

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