Crikey editor Misha Ketchell writes:

The annual Rich List might have put Business Review Weekly on the map, but insiders claim another kind of list is hastening the magazine’s own demise. According to BRW sources,
associate publisher at the Fairfax-owned mag, Andrew Birmingham, told
editorial staff last week that as part of a restructure of the magazine
there would be a spill of editorial positions in Sydney and all but a
handful of staff would be required to reapply for their jobs.

Birmingham
moved to reassure young staff, telling them their jobs were secure if
they were on a junior MEAA grading, below J4, sources say. Then he
released a list of jobs that were “impacted” by the restructure and
those that were not, which some staff claim is little more than a hit
list that really pushes the boundaries of the new IR Laws.

Among
those whose jobs are listed as “impacted” are Canberra Bureau Chief Tom
Skotnicki, National News Editor Stuart Washington and Sydney Editor
John Kavanagh. Insiders say Washington and Kavanagh are old hands who
are being targeted for standing up to the current regime. Meanwhile
production staff in Melbourne have been asked to move to Sydney or lose
their jobs.

Despite slipping circulation and the recent resignation of longtime editor, Tony Feathersone, BRW
is still profitable – although its profits are believed to be down from
last year’s $4 million-or-so – and staff are at a loss to understand
why the clean out is underway. As one insider observed:

Yes, Michael Gill has finally killed BRW. It was a
slow death. But Andrew Birmingham I guess has completed the kill in the
12 months that he was probably given to do it. Really poor timing
considering we are just about to head into our biggest issue of the
year. The Rich 200. And there are three more flagships after that to
complete. All under this daunting change. They just couldn’t hold off
till we did the so called celebratory 25th Birthday issue. Words fail
me as to the appalling lack of management understanding of the product
they have.

And if the hacks at BRW do decide to
turn their own drama into a list story on the cover, it would have to
be called THE BRW HIT LIST. Sub-heading: Winners and Losers in The
Great Magazine Shake-Up.