Morry Schwartz launches foreign affairs journal, Jonathan Pearlman joins as editor

Morry Schwartz, property developer and publisher of The Quarterly Essay, has launched a new publication – Australian Foreign Affairs – aiming to provide the public with information and discussion around foreign affairs and Australian foreign policy.

For the publisher, whose company Schwartz Media also runs titles including The Saturday Newspaper and The Monthly, there couldn’t have been a more perfect time to launch, he said.

The publication will run from October 17, three times a year

“There is no foreign affairs journal in Australia,” Schwartz told Mumbrella.

“It’s the way a country speaks to the world, and for a middle power like Australia not to have a public discourse on foreign affairs, I think one needs one.

“It doesn’t mean the newspapers don’t do it, they do it to a degree but only to a degree. A more in-depth long-form considered conversation is essential.”


The title will include four or five essays of 4,000 to 5,000 words each, as well as a review of the best foreign affairs books, and a section for responses – similar to The Quarterly Essay.

Each edition will also have a theme, and contributors will span from foreign policy experts and analysts, to journalists and international correspondents, aiming to engage readers in regional and international issues affecting Australia.

More regular content will eventually be made available online.

The first edition will feature commentary from Paul Keating, Allan Gyngell, George Megalogenis and Linda Jakobson.

Schwartz is confident people will be interested in the depth of analysis the journal will offer.

“In the same way as when we first launched The Quarterly Essay, which was 16 years ago, there was the question of ‘Are people interested in in-depth coverage of all these issues in Australia?’ I thought back then, ‘Absolutely yes’, and this time I think the same with Foreign Affairs,” he said.

Jonathan Pearlman, editor of Australian Foreign Affairs, and correspondent for the Telegraph (UK) and the Straits Times (Singapore), similarly believes there is a strong readership for the title.

“It’s a fascinating time to be launching a publication like this and to be taking a closer look at what’s going on around the world and around the region and the ways in which Australia might be affected and how Australia might respond,” he said.

According to Pearlman, the publication’s main aim will be to provide “clear and readable” content, with fresh understanding and analysis of foreign affairs issues affecting Australia.

“It’s not a publication that you would need to have a PHD in international relations for,” he noted.

Pearlman said his career – which has seen him cover foreign affairs in Canberra, Sydney and the Middle East – and his current role as a correspondent, will help him in the new role.

He added the current state of world affairs was a “catalyst” for increased interest in the magazine’s content.

Pearlman wants the content to be clear and readable for consumers

“Australia has never been a lonely, isolated country cut off from the world. It’s been involved in numerous wars overseas, it’s always been affected by its relationships with Britain and the US, and with countries around the region,” he said.

“At the moment the world is a very uncertain place. A lot of Australians feel that and are aware of it, that there are developments, which are causing uncertainty and potential tension globally and particularly in this region.”

A collector of the US version – American Foreign Affair – for more than 20 years, Schwartz said while the Australian iteration can be accessed digitally, it was important the journal was in print.

“I can’t think of another format, really. I think it’s important that it’s in print. I’ve personally collected American Foreign Affairs which I’ve been buying for 20 years, and I have every issue because I’m interested in the area and I think that it’s important to have it in a physical form so they can collect it and go back to it again and again.

“To me, the format of the journal is perfect because it takes the long-form essay very well. It really doesn’t need to be illustrated in any way, these are words we are talking about.”

Asked how he would monetise the publication – Schwartz said he would do the same as he had with his other titles.

“It’s really very interesting because it’s the way I’ve always monetised everything and everything we do, actually works commercially,” he said.

“I think about what I personally really want to read, I don’t think about the public really.

“If it’s something that really interests me, I publish it and it so happens that it’s of interest to other people.”

Australian Foreign Affairs will run quarterly (February, July, and October) from October 17.


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