Looks like the good folk at BRW – at least those who are left – will be putting their party frocks and suits back on mothballs. The mag’s long anticipated 25th anniversary celebrations have been put on ice.

Founded in 1981 by business journalism guru Robert Gottliebsen, BRW was
to have celebrated 25 years of publication last week (despite the fact
its actual birthday was back in April) with a giant cake (right) and a
bumper 170-page edition including a Business Hall of Fame profiling
Australia’s all-time 25 best business people.

The 25th
Anniversary edition, also slated to feature an essay by Gideon Haigh on
the changing culture of Australian business, was to be kicked off with
a shindig for the workers. But perhaps the raft of redundancies in May,
which saw the majority of BRW‘s senior editorial staff jump ship, has killed the mood because, according to Media Week, the party’s “on hold for the time being”.

“It’s
a bit sad,” Gottliebsen told Crikey this morning, of the current state
of affairs at the mag he created. “I do feel for the people who work
there. (But) it’s a very different magazine to the one I founded.”

“What made BRW
successful was the fact that it really penetrated the medium-sized
business market,” he said, making it “distinctly different from the Financial Review
– complementary to it”. Now it’s just one more part of the Fairfax
business machine and doesn’t have a life of its own, he said – and it
“remains to be seen whether they can make this work.”

But
whatever happens, Gottliebsen wishes the mag well, and says that if any
celebrations were to be held, he’d certainly attend, if invited.

Peter Fray

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