Financial Times: 'We think about how to present web stories first'

 

Last week the Financial Times celebrated its 125th birthday, during which time it has moved from being a leaflet published in the City of London to a global journalism brand.

Today it claims average daily readership worldwide (digital and print) of 2.1m – with print circulation of 272,375 and paying digital subscribers of 312,000.

Press Gazette spoke to deputy editor John Thornhill:

The FT went into loss in the last media downturn following the dotcom bubble’s burst in 2001. How has it managed to stay in profit during the recession of the last four years?

We’ve become a far more global organisation with greater sales around the world now. There are still parts of the world growing very strong.

There has also been huge interest in financial affairs: the cause of the crisis, the consequences of the crisis – and enormous interest in business news generally.

We’ve moved towards a subscriptions model online, a metered paywall system, and it has been working well for us so far…

As far back as 2006 the FT has been talking about having an integrated multimedia newsroom. What’s different about the current changes announced last month by editor Lionel Barber (there is to be a net reduction of 25 editorial jobs as the title ‘accelerates the shift from print to digital’)?

We’ve always had this mantra of full integration. Now we are realising more and more there are different ways of telling stories digitally – including video, blogs and mobile.

The first thought should be how can we tell this story on the web, we then think about how we present it in the paper later.

In the digital era, why does the FT devote so much space to printing pages of data in the print edition?

We find our readers still want it – we are still very much viewed as a point of reference.

How has the FT managed to survive so long?

When the FT was launched there were a number of freesheets around ramping up shares in London.

The FT came along as a leaflet which said we will provide the most credible information that we can. That’s the compact we still have.

There are a lot of financial blogs coming up with share information – but there is still a huge virtue for us that we live or die by the credibility of the news we have.

Can you tell us some more about Fast FT, the new service planned for launch later this year?

We have to think more imaginatively about what we are going to do. Fast FT is going to be about 21st century markets coverage. It is still in evolution, but a lot of markets coverage is quite static in newspaper form.

We want to build on that coming up with more dynamic reporting of market-moving news. We are moving towards web-first filing and production. We can’t have all of our stories published towards the end of the day when they come in for the newspaper.l

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