Financial Times launches real-time breaking news service pitched between Twitter and the main website

The Financial Times today launched a new “real-time” breaking news service which aims to lie somewhere between the immediacy of Twitter and a traditional news website.

FastFT has a staff of eight journalists led by chief correspondent Megan Murphy and aims to provide 24-hour coverage of market-moving news five days a week. Its staff are spread around the world to ensure round-the-clock coverage in different time-zones with three in London, two in Hong Kong and three in New York.

The move comes as part of the FT’s plan to move towards a more digital-first approach. Earlier this year 30, mainly print-focused journalists, took redundancy and ten new digital journalism jobs were created.

Murphy told Press Gazette: “We need to respond to the changing dynamic of how readers consume news. For us, it’s a step change.

“When I ask people younger than me how they get breaking news, almost everybody uses Twitter as their main main source when they are in this field.

“But Twitter can’t give you the context and the why it matters. That’s the niche Fast is trying to fill.”

She said: “When 140 characters doesn’t cut it, FastFT goes beyond the headlines, providing context and commentary in quick, authoritative reports, with a level of transparency and personality that simply isn’t available elsewhere.”

The FT says that FastFT will provide “up-to-the-minute reporting and commentary in short, sharp and informed dispatches – giving FT readers the edge they expect and the agenda-setting analysis they rely on.

“It expands and deepens the FT’s existing content offerings – from breaking and investigative news, opinion and analysis to blogs, interactive journalism and videos – by adding a live and dynamic layer of news and insight.

FastFT is presented in a rolling format, with the most recent updates at the top of the page.

The new site was developed by FT Labs. Co-founder of that product development team, Andrew Betts, said: “FastFT is the visible tip of a new real-time, platform agnostic publishing system that represents a step forward in creating an environment optimised for all news consumers, whichever device they choose to read us on, and wherever they happen to be."

The new site is behind the FT’s metered paywall, which currently limits free access to eight articles per month.

The FT currently claims to have 328,000 paying digital subscribers and has a global print circulation of 266,170.

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