East Asia's leading English-language weekly news magazine yesterday folded in its current format with the loss of 80 jobs. The format of the Far Eastern Economic Review will be changed to a monthly opinion journal, its publisher said. Peter Kann, chairman of Dow Jones & Co, which owns the Review, said the 58-year-old Hong Kong-based magazine had lost money for the past six years. 'We see no likelihood of a turnaround on the current economic model,' Mr Kann said in an internal memo to staff. Observers said the decision was the end of an era for independent weekly journalism in the region. Staff were told the news at a specially convened 10.30am meeting at the Grand Hyatt. Some described the mood as 'like being at a funeral'. Most of the sacked workers began clearing their desks immediately. Mr Kann said they represented 10 per cent of the company's Asia-based workforce and would receive 'appropriate severance packages'. It is understood the package includes a payout of $15,000 per year of service. Mr Kann said: 'Effective December 17, the Review will reappear as a monthly magazine of issues and ideas written largely by Asian opinion leaders from the fields of politics, business and academics. 'I believe the era of regional news weeklies ... is nearing an end, given the many other available sources of daily and more frequent news and analysis.' But several former editors, including Philip Bowring, rejected that view. He said the New York-based company 'did not understand what it was about'. He added: 'They tried to dumb it down and suffered the consequences. I feel terribly sad. This was a proud institution of journalism.' Former regional editor Hamish McDonald said advertisers were put off when Dow Jones changed the magazine's hard-hitting style to reflect US-based editorialising, bringing 'ready-made opinions imported from party central in New York'. The new version of the Review will be edited by Hugo Restall, former editorial page editor of The Asian Wall Street Journal. The last issue in its current format, dated November 4, hits newsstands today.