FT Alphaville recreates City pub with new discussion zone

The Financial Times today unveiled an innovative new discussion area for its blog-site Alphaville which is based around a renowned City of London pub called The Long Room.

The original bar and restaurant on Throgmorton Street was once said to be a hub for City chatter – and the new Long Room section of FT.com hopes to emulate that by creating a number of virtual discussion tables that registered users of the site can sit in on.

The move comes as the webby award-winning Alphaville section of FT.com expands with the appointment of New York-based writer Stacy-Marie Ishmael.

The technology behind The Long Room has been developed by Ossanka – which worked with the FT on creating the rest of Alphaville.

Registered users of The Long Room will have the opportunity to start their own discussion tables – as will advertisers, according to FT.com managing director Rob Grimshaw

He told Press Gazette: “Advertisers will be able to sponsor tables and put forward ideas for tables if they want to have a discussion on a particular topic”

Reader contributions will be pre-moderated by FT journalists. As well as text comments, Long Room users will be able to attach documents and make multimedia contributions.

Grimshaw declined to reveal what Alphaville’s web traffic is, or whether it is profit-making. But he said that 80 per cent of its page views come from returning users, indicating that it has built up a loyal following.

Alphaville’s daily text-based Markets Live discussion hosted by editor Paul Murphy and Neil Hume regularly attracts around 500 comments.

The Alphaville editorial team also produces a 6am fnancial news email briefing called The Cut as well as providing regular blog updates throughout the day.

Grimshaw said: “Alphaville is about taking FT journalism into new areas. It’s about the devolution of the editorial team as well and taking on board web ways of working. It’s one of the key parts of that as well as the graphics team and the video team.”

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