Evolution of a Magazine

As the HHMI Bulletin retires, the editors take a look back at its journey from newsletter to widely read science magazine.

Since it was first published in 1988, the HHMI Bulletin has assumed many guises. The magazine started life as a no-frills, four-page newsletter, meant solely for the HHMI community. Over the ensuing 25-plus years, its appearance has evolved; it has expanded (and occasionally contracted) in size; its content has assumed a more narrative tone; and the text has increasingly been complemented by artful illustrations and captivating photographs. In 2005, an equally artful Bulletin website went live, and 2011 saw the launch of an iPad edition – making the Bulletin one of the first science magazines offered through the iTunes store.

As the magazine evolved, so did its readership. Individuals from outside HHMI – including science educators, scientists-in-training, and science aficionados – began subscribing in ever-growing numbers, drawn by the compelling stories of scientific discovery. More than 37,000 copies of this issue will come off the printing press, to be mailed to subscribers and passed along to other readers, and the magazine’s online and iPad editions will eventually be seen by thousands more.

Now, with this last issue, we are retiring the Bulletin as we move away from the magazine as a communications medium. But that doesn’t mean the storytelling will end: Look for vibrant coverage of HHMI’s work and people online and through social media in the days, weeks, and years ahead. Science is ongoing, and the way it’s conducted – and communicated – will continue to evolve.