Blasting the media

A cartoon dominated the front cover of today’s The Journalist.

The caricature features a hooded hangman lighting the fuse on a stick of dynamite that will blow up four newspapers. Kuensel and Observer are shown applauding the hangman’s efforts, while the public watches the dangerous proceedings in complete indifference.

So who is this hooded hangman?

Year old paper

A year ago, on 30th October 2008, the media industry in Bhutan raised their standards considerably. On that day, the print media gave us our first daily newspaper. What’s surprising is that that newspaper was Bhutan Today, then the newest paper in town.

What’s amazing is that Bhutan Today has pulled it off. Since launching their first issue on the 30th of October, they have managed to produce a newspaper every day, without fail, throughout the last year. The paper is still simple, but the fact is that they come out every single day.

The fact is also that Bhutan Today probably forced Kuensel, Bhutan’s oldest paper, to go daily as well. Kuensel, which was founded on 1967, was a bi-weekly when Bhutan Today first hit the newsstands. Kuensel, incidentally, does not produce a paper on Sunday, so – technically speaking – they are still not a true daily.

I congratulate the Bhutan Today team for a job well done, and wish them more success in their next year. Tashi delek!

Dealing with business

Serious business

Serious business

Two months ago, on the 6th of August, I was invited to hold an interesting press conference. About a dozen journalists, all belonging to one newspaper, grilled me for a good two hours. After my brief statement on the opposition party, they fired away rapid questions ranging from politics and business to media, my blog and my nickname, Massive. Our discussions that day were never published – the press conference was, in fact, a practice session. I suppose that was why we had so much fun.

But by last week, those very same journalists were no longer practicing. And on the 26th of September, they launched Business Bhutan, our country’s fifth newspaper.

Business Bhutan, a weekly, is Bhutan’s first financial paper. With two daily newspapers (Bhutan Today and Kuensel) and two weeklies (Bhutan Observer and Bhutan Times) already dominating the newsstands, I was afraid for Business Bhutan and their young journalists. No longer. Their first two issues tell me that they may already have the ability to deal successfully in a crowded news market. Business Bhutan’s initial successes also reconfirm my belief and confidence in our media.

Well done. Good luck. And tashi delek!

The photograph, by Lucky Wangmo, features the BB editorial team with an exhausted opposition leader after the August 6th practice session.