Editorial: Looking Back, but Moving Foward

Analysis

Photo by Claudio Divizia/ Shutterstock.com

It has been, as they say, quite the year. Christmas Eve morning will mark exactly 10 months since Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to invade Ukraine. His insistence on calling it a “special military operation,” along with his ever-changing bogus excuses for waging war, would be laughable were they not so pathetic and full of tragic consequences for so many innocent civilians.

And, increasingly, for the ill-equipped, under-trained, poorly led mobiliks who make up Russia’s mobilized conscript ranks. At the start of previous wars, they used to talk about “bringing the boys home by Christmas.” In our age of instant gratification, this conflict has now lasted so long that the very idea of it almost seems normalized until you stop and think of what that means.

My mother was a schoolchild in London during World War II. She remembers trying to continue lessons inside a bomb shelter or the Underground. Her father fought in World War I, was wounded a couple of times and gassed once. From the little I remember of my grandfather (he died when I was four), he was somewhat cold, somewhat withdrawn, and may well have suffered from undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder, although they would have called it shell shock in his day. Today, my mother cannot fathom how anyone could even conceive sending soldiers across a neighbor’s border and bringing a full-blown conflict back to Europe. Sadly, I don’t think anyone could offer her any wisdom on that score.

The war next door has been the low point of 2022, emphasized by the rising inflation which predates it and the energy crisis that followed in its wake. For those who suffer from it, climate anxiety has not been eased by the renewed interest in oil and gas exploration and even a return to coal extraction to replace the missing energy and fuel supplies from Russia.

But even as the pandemic helped us better appreciate the value of community and personal contact, so this year has not been without its highlights. For the staff at the Budapest Business Journal, it has been the chance to celebrate our 30th anniversary, a unique achievement for an English-language news publication in Hungary. Our first issue was published on November 9, 1992, but we marked the event, and the upcoming holiday season, at our BBJ Advent Anniversary Mixer at the Budapest Marriott Hotel on December 12, along with more than 100 guests and partners.

The Journal has survived into its fourth decade because it has evolved. The media landscape today is very different from the period just after the change in regime. Back then, we were a business-to-customer outlet; now, we are much more B2B. I said at our mixer that the BBJ isn’t an empty vessel that just happens to be 30 years old; what gives it genuine value is the combined experience, professionalism, and accumulated knowledge of those who work at the publishing house. As we enter our next 30 years, we will continue to evolve our mix, with more of what we do surely being digital, alongside printed products where the demand remains for them. What won’t change is that it will all be built around content that matters, that is useful and useable, and that we will continue to look for areas where we can add value. And, of course, we very much look forward to the continued support of all our readers, subscribers, advertisers and partners. We wouldn’t be here without you.

Let me wish all of you, however you engage with the BBJ and all that we do, a very Merry Christmas and a healthy, peaceful and prosperous (well, we are a business publication, after all) New Year.

Robin Marshall

Editor-in-chief

This editorial was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of December 16, 2022.

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