It might surprise you to know that it wasn’t until 1987 that The Correspondent magazine began to appear regularly in its current format. Other issues had appeared from time to time in the 1960s, 70s and early 80s, but not on a regular basis. By the mid-80s it had been reduced to an eight-page newsletter that came out infrequently.
We have been only able to locate some surviving 1970s issues and one or two from the 1960s. Mind you, some of those issues were not dated inside or outside magazine, but given paper quality and style they probably date from the late-70s.
It was in 1987 that Club member Viswa Nathan came up with the idea of publishing a monthly glossy magazine that would be supported by advertising. Viswa made a go of it from the first issue. It’s not an easy business to find enough ads to cover the costs of producing the magazine, but these were boom days in Hong Kong and all the hongs had ad budgets for small-circulation magazines.
By the mid-1990s it became harder to get ads and it was no longer possible to take for granted ads from the hongs. The exception was the 50th anniversary of the FCC in Hong Kong special issue (1999) which was fully supported by ads due to the hard work of editor Saul Lockhart. From that time the magazine became financed fully by the Club, with the occasional ad income as a supplement to the budget.
Many of the ads in that issue were from the media industry; including one gem (as you would expect) from The Economist, which read, “Congratulating the FCC on 50 years of intoxicating journalism”. Sadly, as the media industry struggles with the digital revolution and the consequent falling ad revenue and diffuse readership, budget for ads has dried up.
The Human Rights Press Awards are run by the FCC, Amnesty International Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Journalists Association. The ceremony took place in May 2017. Click here to see the winners.