Battulga Tumurdash, the first Mongolian editor of The UB Post shared his memories of working at The UB Post newspaper exactly 20 years ago.
Joining The UB Post as a translator with a job offer from Mongol News Group founder and The UB Post’s first Editor-in-Chief, Battulga was part of the small staff who prepared and published the very first edition of The UB Post on May 6, 1996, sharing only one computer between three people.
“From the 1990’s democratic revolution, Mongolia started opening its doors to foreign countries; 1996 was a period when the interest of foreigners and international organizations was rapidly growing concerning Mongolia. With the development of foreign relations policy, plenty of international organizations and businesses opened their doors and began missions in Mongolia. This was a time when foreign investors turned their attention to. During that time, information and news about domestic affairs was limited to the foreign people residing in Mongolia, the staff of international organizations and diplomatic missions. Foreseeing future demands, The UB Post newspaper was founded and started providing international readers with timely domestic news,” Battulga noted.
Battulga joined The UB Post when he was student. “I used to earn some money by doing translations when I was student, particularly, translating official letters, personal letters, and faxes. Then I started making some money by translating foreign news articles from the internet and providing my translated work to Ardyn Erkh, a local daily newspaper, as Mongolia was just starting to get acquainted with the internet,” he recalled.
“I was excited to receive the offer from Baldorj, and I started working with great enthusiasm and interest,” he recalled.
“The UB Post’s first issues were delivered to the readers as a result of a team effort from me; the first English-speaking editor, Louisa Waugh; and translator Erdenebilig. It was really interesting to work with Louisa Waugh. She was a great writer and skillful editor,” Battulga said.
“Soon after working for The UB Post, Louisa lived in Bayan-Ulgii Province among the Kazakh community and wrote the book ‘Hearing Birds Fly’, which became a best-seller in the UK. She also wrote the book ‘Selling Olga: Stories of Human Trafficking and Resistance’, which gained popularity,” he added.
“Initially, we published translated timely front page stories from Ardyn Erkh. Then, in the long run, we started producing our own news articles by interviewing and reporting on events we covered ourselves, which I really enjoyed.
“I remember working day and night, working on the content to be published in the weekly newspaper. I completed my duties with great enthusiasm and effort.
“One time, I worked really hard on the translation of a large story to be published in the newspaper. I had finally finished my translation, working for many hours, and finally left the office. The next morning, I came back to the office to put my translation in the layout. I could not find my translation on the computer. Then, I discovered that I closed the Word file without saving it! I was really mad at myself, I had to re-translate and re-type it. It was one bitter experience!” Battulga remembered with a laugh.
“We were inexperienced young people who had just separated from the student desk when we joined The UB Post. I was promoted to the position of editor after working a while,” he commented.
“The work day at The UB Post started at 9 a.m. We reviewed the latest daily newspapers, picked out the most timely main news articles, and worked on them. I mainly translated and wrote politics and economics articles.
“The experience I gained while working at The UB Post had a great influence on my life, my career, and my future endeavors. In July 1997, I left The UB Post to join Juulchin Tourist Company as a marketing manager. During this one year of employment at The UB Post, my English had greatly improved and I obtained lots of knowledge about society, politics, and the economy, which amazingly helped me to pursue my career in the tourism sector. I think The UB Post made the foundation of my career really strong. After leaving The UB Post, I really missed that media environment; I started becoming thirsty for news and information.
“It was the beginning of the transition period. It was the first time the Democratic Party won the election, in the 1996 parliamentary election, held for the first time under the new Constitution. Lots of foreign reporters visited Mongolia to observe the 1996 parliamentary elections. Back then, I assisted a BBC reporter with reporting on Mongolia’s legislative election process from the start, traveling with him to the countryside,” Battulga remembered.
Battulga founded Look Mongolia Travel Group in 2005, and is now the President of the company. His career profile is rich with experience. He was the Director of Juulchin Tourist Company, Chief Operating Officer and Communications Officer of Millennium Challenge Account – Mongolia throughout 2010 and 2012, and the first Vice Chairman of the General Agency of State Registration.