Magazine to keep two editorial staff, may relocate to Beijing

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 October, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 October, 2004, 12:00am

And then there were two.

Following the sacking of 80 journalists and support staff from the Far Eastern Economic Review, it has been revealed the magazine will be run by an editorial team of two.

This follows the announcement on Thursday by publisher Dow Jones that the region's leading English-language weekly news magazine would change in format to become a monthly opinion journal.

The new editor, Hugo Restall, the former editorial page editor of The Asian Wall Street Journal, is pushing for the publication to be shifted from its traditional base in Hong Kong to Beijing.

Announcing the decision, chairman Peter Kann said the news weekly was no longer a profitable business model and had been in the red for the past six years. The New York-based executive dismissed concerns the decision represented a retreat from the Asian market by Dow Jones.

'We are committed to being part of the growth and vitality of the Asian marketplace,' Mr Kann said.

'Dow Jones businesses - from The Wall Street Journal to Dow Jones Newswires, from Dow Jones Indexes to CNBC Asia Pacific - are continuing to expand in the region.'

The savings in expense and resources from the magazine, which will debut in its new form in December, would be used to beef up The Asian Wall Street Journal.

'We're not closing the Review, but rather altering its format and frequency,' a company spokeswoman said yesterday.

'There will be a handful of staff but it is a very different business model. And while there is a possibility [Mr Restall] might work out of Beijing, that all depends on the approval of visas and things like that.'

The Review's circulation has been stagnant at about 100,000 for more than a decade. Hong Kong industry sources said losses were projected at US$6 million a year. The previous shake-up came in November 2001 when 36 employees were retrenched in a consolidation of the editorial teams at the Review and The Asian Wall Street Journal.

That same year, Asiaweek, the Review's rival, shocked the industry by shutting down after a severe slump in advertising revenue.

The Review has since struggled to stay afloat in the face of intense competition from the entry of global media companies into Asia. New entrants have included The Economist, BusinessWeek, and Fortune.