Far Eastern Economic Review to call it a day after 63 years

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 September, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 September, 2009, 12:00am

The Far Eastern Economic Review, which for decades chronicled a region beset by revolutions, civil strife and authoritarian regimes, will cease publishing in December.

Its parent company, Dow Jones, said yesterday it would close the magazine to 'focus on its core publications' and so that 'opinion and commentary resources from Asia can be expanded across all Dow Jones properties'.

Todd Larsen, chief operating officer at Dow Jones Consumer Media Group, said: 'The decision to cease publication of the Review is a difficult one, made after a careful study of the magazine's prospects in a challenging business climate.'

A statement noted that continued losses in advertising revenue and readers 'is now unsustainable'.

The Review had already irrevocably changed when it was converted from a weekly into a monthly journal in 2004.

Nevertheless, 'it's a sad day', said writer and political commentator Frank Ching, who served in various editorial positions on the Review.

'This feels like a second death. But at least [in 2004], the name continued. Now, even that is gone.'

The Review published its first issue in October 1946 as a weekly news magazine. Its mission statement was to 'analyse and interpret financial, commercial and industrial developments; to collect economic news; and to present views and opinions with the intent to improve existing conditions'.

It developed itself into a leading English-language publication for regional investigative journalism.

Lawmaker Emily Lau Wai-hing, Chief Justice Andrew Li Kwok-nang, the former head of the Central Policy Unit, Leo Goodstad, and senior counsel Cheng Huan all served there.

In October 2004, Dow Jones & Co changed the weekly news magazine into a monthly opinion journal, sacking 80 journalists and support staff, and installing the new format with an editorial team of two.

Philip Bowring, a former editor, said the announcement merely marked 'the burial of a magazine which died five years ago'.

'The impact of foreign takeovers has been very detrimental to investigative journalism in the long run. This is something everyone should regret,' he said.