Move to monthly costs FEER jobs

Nearly all the editorial jobs on the Dow Jones-owned Hong Kong based business magazine Far Eastern Economic Review have been made redundant following a decision to change it from a weekly to a monthly.

Around 80 jobs have been axed, of which about a third were in editorial.

A small number of the staff on the magazine, which has recruited heavily from the UK, were taken on within the last 12 months. They included journalist Adrian Edwards, who had been there just six weeks.

Those affected will be on salary until the end of next year and afterwards will receive severance pay in line with length of service.

Dow Jones chairman and chief executive Peter R Kann said the magazine’s switch to a monthly format with more analysis-led content was in response to news weeklies in Asia suffering from increased competition from more immediate media alternatives.

He added that the Review had been losing money for nearly six years.

Former senior editor Michael Westlake, who worked at the publication for nearly 30 years after moving from the UK, described the move as a “rude insult”.

Westlake agreed that the advertising had suffered particularly following the 11 September attacks on the World Trade Center, but he also claimed the problem was due to the magazine’s “dumbing down” when Dow Jones took full ownership of the title in 1987. He said: “The Review was an aggressive publication but it has been out of hard-hitting serious journalism for a while now. I don’t see this as having an advantage for anyone, only in ego saving for Dow Jones as they don’t want to see someone else succeed where they didn’t.”

Former editorial page editor of the Asian Wall Street Journal , Hugo Restall, will take up the editorship of the magazine from David Plott. The first issue of the Review in its new format will be published this December.

By Sarah Lagan

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