This week, Fairfax “announced” the closure of two of its major business magazines, Shares and Personal Investor, but
did it through leaks and confused stories in its own newspapers, with
suggestions the magazines might be replaced with a new magazine which
may or may not be given away free inside the Financial Review.

Why has Fairfax closed down two long-established magazines that cover
personal investment at precisely the time that personal investment and
superannuation has become one of the hottest issues in Australia?

Shares, which claims a 60,000+ circulation and 165,000
readership, describes itself on its website as: “Australia’s best
source of independent sharemarket information.” Personal Investor calls itself: “Australia’s leading investment magazine” and claims 150,000 readers and a circulation of 52,000.

Were they losing money? Unlikely, as it’s suggested that between them
the two magazines were actually selling around 80,000 copies a month –
their real circulations as distinct from their “audited” circulations.
These are circulations, mastheads and audiences any sane media company
would die for.

And now comes the rumour that BRW, the Fairfax flagship business magazine, is about to be switched from a weekly to a monthly.

So what’s really going inside Fairfax? Cutting costs, slashing and
burning is the answer. All presided over by the company’s new boss
Brian Evans, who’s privately called Pol Pot by senior colleagues inside
the Fairfax bunker… because he’s getting rid of all the intellectuals.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey