Tuesday, November 30, 2004

on the demise of magazines and other matters of great socio-political import

By now everyone knows that Dow Jones--following in the footsteps of Time Warner, but, as usual, at a slightly slower pace demonstrating not superior integrity but inferior business acumen--succeeded after many years of effort in running the Far Eastern Economic Review into the ground. I do myself no credit by saying so -- since I was a frequent contributor when the magazine was at its lowest ebb -- but although it was once a respected journal of academic-quality analysis, excellent writing and daring investigative journalism, the magazine became, under Dow Jones, a poor imitation of first the Economist and then Business Week, until it was no longer a regional magazine at all but a China magazine with a random selection of articles from around Asia. What happened? The same thing that happened to AsiaWeek. It became a corporation instead of a magazine. It was marketed instead of edited. And it died.

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