(Changes number of years in headline and first paragraph to 128)
By Michael Perry
SYDNEY, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Australia’s oldest news magazine The Bulletin was axed on Thursday after 128 years -- a victim of falling circulation.
The Bulletin published some of Australia’s greatest writers, such as Andrew “Banjo” Paterson who penned the iconic Australian poem “The Man From Snowy River”, and in its heyday often broke news that shook the Australian political and business world.
But the magazine, which ran an Australian edition of Newsweek inside each weekly edition, sold only 57,039 issues in September 2007, down from more than 100,000 in the mid-1990s.
Publisher ACP Magazines said The Bulletin’s falling circulation was consistent with that experienced by many leading weekly news magazines globally and was symptomatic of the impact of the Internet on the industry.
“This is a sad day for all of us at ACP Magazines,” Scott Lorson, chief executive officer of ACP Magazines, said in a statement announcing that the latest edition, which went on sale on Wednesday, was the last.
“The Bulletin has been an institution in Australian publishing and has provided ... the best quality, in-depth news and current affairs analysis in the country. The Bulletin has often set the political agenda, broken many important stories and won many awards for journalism over the years,” Lorson said.
ACP Magazines is Australia’s biggest magazine publisher, with a stable of more than 85 titles, including The Australian Women’s Weekly, Woman’s Day, Dolly, Cleo and Cosmopolitan. Its Web site boasts that it sells three magazines every second.
The Bulletin was once the flagship news magazine of one of Australia’s major media moguls, the late Kerry Packer. But Packer’s son James hived off a controlling share of the family’s media business to private equity in late 2007.
Media analyst Harold Mitchell said The Bulletin failed to modernise to compete with the Internet.
“Its a great shame that a way couldn’t be found to keep this part of Australia modern and a part of our lives,” he said.
“Kerry Packer I am sure would not have axed The Bulletin. He was an Australian through to the core. Now this is private equity. Money speaks many languages, but mostly it’s the bottom line.”
The Bulletin’s last edition ran a cover story “Why We Love Australia”, a survey of national values ahead of Australia Day on Jan. 26, and articles about the Australian ethos by acclaimed authors Tom Keneally, Frank Moorhouse and Richard Flanagan.
The survey found Australians still value “mateship and the fair go” (friendship and being even-handed), despite being richer due to a booming economy. (Editing by Alex Richardson)