November marks the 50th anniversary of the OECD Observer, the award-winning public magazine of the OECD. The brainchild of Thorkil Kristensen, the first secretary general of the organisation, the OECD Observer was launched at the 2nd ministerial meeting 27-28 November 1962. He recruited a former war resistant and political journalist from his native Denmark, Anker Randsholt, to do the job. The audience? Busy policymakers who had no time “to read more than a fraction” of the OECD’s already considerable and somewhat technical work.
In those post-war decades divulging information to the public was a delicate exercise. Policy had inched forward in a Cold War atmosphere of confidentiality, not to mention paranoia. Today, information is currency, and as Kristensen wrote in the first editorial, by ensuring the OECD Observer was distributed at the 1962 ministerial meeting, “a step was taken towards a wider dissemination of this [organisation’s] knowledge.”