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A Quarter-century of News That Works

This issue marks 25 years since the Budapest Business Journal first appeared. No other English-language publication has lasted as long, publishing as regularly. So, if you will forgive the indulgence, we will reflect a little on that achievement.

Much has changed in 25 years. The world is a very different place. According to some research we did for the Book of Lists, which also celebrates its quarter-century this year, average inflation in Hungary in 1993, for example, was 22.5%. You hardly need me to tell you the average today is 2.37%. The newspaper, too, has changed shape, adopted a higher quality (and no longer pink) newsprint, and moved from being a weekly to a biweekly publication from January 2008.

One thing that has not changed in all that time is our commitment to providing concise, clear and accurate information, information that business leaders can trust and use. Or, as the founders said on the front cover of that first issue of November 9, 1992: “Business News That Works”. They added that readers would “find the facts you need to do business profitably in Hungary”. That is still the aim today.

Any publication that has been around for 25 years will generate a fair amount of statistics in its own right, and one of our colleagues has indulged in a little data mining. Tamás Kiss has a double interest in doing so; not only is he our financial director, but, having joined the newspaper in 1999, he is the longest continuously serving member of staff (there are others here who joined before him, but they left and then came back).

According to his research, there have been 964 issues of the Budapest Business Journal. If you assume an average pagination of 24 pages per issue (a conservative assumption; it is not unusual for us to run 32- or even 40-page papers, and now very rare to drop to a 16-pager), that comes to 30,848 pages. Put another way, that is 74 km of newsprint weighing 960,504 kg.

In a LinkedIn post marking the anniversary, Stephen O’Connor, founder of New World Publishing, owner of the Budapest, Warsaw & Prague Business Journals from 1992 to 2004, wrote: “Twenty-five years ago today (on the third anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall), a ragtag band of adventurers from America, Hungary, and Romania, after much difficulty, printed the very first issue of the weekly Budapest Business Journal. No one told us we couldn’t – so we did. A year later, with only just 5,000 copies a week in English, we sold close to USD1 million in advertising – more than even the national daily newspaper at the time, the former Communist Party mouthpiece at 700,000 copies a day! ‘The world turned upside down’. Congrats to all my fellow colleagues of the BBJ and all alumni of New World Publishing, wherever you are in the world.”