Has publisher Morry Schwartz picked another fight with a member of his editorial staff, this time booting the editor of The Monthly after only half a year in the hot seat? Just six months since The Monthly‘s
glossy launch in May, journalism insiders have told Crikey that editor
Christian Ryan was pushed by Schwartz after disagreements over content
and concerns about circulation.

The Monthly was initially launched, as Black Inc publisher Schwartz put it, out of “New Yorker envy,”
and word was that he was prepared to back it for the five years it
would take to break even. The Australian magazine scene is
littered with the carcasses of well-intentioned glossies that have
succumbed to the collective shrug of low circulation but speaking to The Age last year, Schwartz was confident,
“Australia is a bigger place, it has evolved… there’s a huge,
intelligent market out there.”

Quoted in the same article,
editor Christian Ryan was equally confident about his working
relationship with Schwartz, saying, “Morry is an old-style
publisher…He has mountains of ideas, some are visionary and some
quite mad, but he doesn’t seem to mind being told when they’re mad.”
Ryan sent out an announcement to fellow staff yesterday announcing that
he was leaving, but made no mention of the details behind his

Schwartz told Crikey that Ryan decided to “leave to
pursue his writing.” But isn’t it a little early for a founding editor
to leave a magazine like this? He was “always seen as a launch editor,”
said Schwartz, and “when you see the Christmas edition” you’ll see what
a success the magazine is.

Schwartz is known for his love of the literary stoush, and when he sacked his Quarterly Essay editor Peter Craven, the entrails were examined in detail by literary types and newspaper readers.

tried to contact Ryan but he’d already vacated the Black Inc premises
and we couldn’t track him down. But Schwartz addressed the rumours over
concerns about circulation and content, saying, “for this kind of
magazine we have the greatest circulation in the country.”

not saying there aren’t teething problems,” said Schwartz, but we’re
sticking around and it’s going to be a success. As for the departing
editor, Christian “is a wonderful writer,” said Schwartz and “we hope he’ll write for
the magazine.”