A SHORT HISTORY OF TARGET

Mr Raymonde Montague Sacklyn was, and always has been, the driving force behind TARGET, the name of this medium, being synonymous with hard-hitting business stories about Hongkong and its sometimes questionable captains of industry.

It was Hongkong's first wholly business newsletter.

Nobody has ever, successfully, been able to copy it, its style, or scored such a success for a subscription-only medium, even to this day.

It is, and it has always been, dedicated to reporting economic, financial and business news about Hongkong.

It was founded when the 416 square-mile territory, then a Colony of Great Britain, was on its economic knees. That was in January 1974.

From its very humble beginnings as a bilingual, letter-size newsletter, Mr Sacklyn determined that there was a need in Hongkong for an impartial and objective, business-type medium, which inculcated the wrestling concept of no-holds barred when it came to writing and publishing a story.

(The Chinese-language version of TARGET had to be discontinued within 2 years of the birth of the newsletter due to technical problems, translation problems, and the inability to obtain the services of reliable and fast operators of a manual Chinese typesetter.)

Mr Sacklyn started his journalistic career in The STAR Newspapers, owned and controlled in the 1970's via Anglo-Chinese Publications Ltd, a Hongkong-registered company.

Due to financial problems, Mr Graham Jenkins, the Founder of The STAR, became controlled by the late Sir Douglas Clague, the Founder of Hutchison International Ltd, now renamed Hutchison Whampoa Ltd.

Mr Sacklyn left The STAR in order to start TARGET when it became evident that the editorial integrity of Hongkong’s most-popular afternoon tabloid of the day was being compromised by big business.

When Mr Jenkins asked Mr Sacklyn as to the ‘target audience’ of his brainchild newsletter, the name, ‘TARGET’, was considered the appropriate banner for this bold experiment in journalism in Hongkong.

With only $HK74,000 as start-up capital, all borrowed money, Mr Sacklyn had to make a choice as to the appearance of TARGET:

  1. Would it be an appealing, glossy medium, complete with professional layout and coloured photographs?
  2. Would it be an ugly, newssheet, measuring 8.50 inches by 11 inches, breaking the then accepted mould of Hongkong media? or,
  3. Would TARGET be somewhere in between the appealing glossy and the ugly newssheet?

Because it was not in Mr Sacklyn's character to produce a medium, which was ugly, he determined to produce his newsletter, having the appearance of being a confidentially typed letter, with the word, ‘CONFIDENTIAL’, emblazoned across its pages in the background.

Today, TARGET and Mr Sacklyn are something of a legend in the journalistic history of the territory: TARGET is hated by some; it is feared by many; but, grudgingly, it is respected by most people and corporate entities.

As Mr Sacklyn has, always, maintained:

‘I care little for the love of my fellows, for that is as fleeting as a short, summer storm, but I care a great deal that they respect me, not for that which I am or for that which I have achieved, but for that which I have always attempted to achieve – even though, on occasions, I have failed.’

From its founding, TARGET has, always, concentrated on reporting business news, financial affairs in Hongkong, analyses of publicly listed companies, and putting many of the leaders of Hongkong industry under the TARGET microscope.

At the birth of TARGET, financial analysis in Hongkong was, just about, non-existent in the popular Press, and international stockbrokers, operating in the territory, were, always, keen to lick the boots of big business of the colony, throwing impartiality and objectivity to the wind.

Mr Sacklyn decided that he had to cut new ground, from day to day.

One thing has never changed in TARGET over the years: Its editorial integrity has never been compromised, much to the chagrin of many a head of a publicly listed company in Hongkong as well as the former managements of Hongkong's stock exchanges – there were 4 such entities at one time.

Nobody has ever ‘bought’ one inch of editorial space in TARGET in spite of numerous attempts so to do by big business.

TARGET has never published a powder-puff story, reproduced an advertisement or a Press Release, passed off as a story, as many of the popular Press of today do on a daily basis.

And so, it shall always be.