Pink 'Un ends job freeze and heads back into black

By Dominic Ponsford

The Financial Times has ended its threeyear freeze on hiring new editorial staff, finally providing some good news for journalist job-hunters.

Press Gazette has learned that the Pink ‘Un will definitely move into profit for the first time since 2001 when parent company Pearson announces its full-year results next month.

And the paper is expected to enjoy another period back in the black this year.

The FT news follows heavy editorial job cuts announced across the UK newspaper industry in recent months after a tough advertising market and economic slowdown in 2005.

But according to an FT spokesman: "The market is picking up and that time is right to bring in new talent from outside. The hiring freeze was for a very specific period during the most powerful business advertising recession we’ve seen.

"We are still keeping our belts pretty tight, but we have always said when the market did begin to pick up we would start to bring in some talent from outside."

The FT has consistently lost money since 2001: some £23 million in 2002, £32 million in 2003 and £9 million in 2004.

The hiring freeze has been in place since the end of 2001 and has been accompanied by two voluntary redundancy programmes which have resulted in 50 journalists leaving the company.

The FT is currently understood to have a worldwide journalist headcount of around 320.

This week the FT announced the hiring of three new reporters from outside the organisation for its Companies and Markets section.

Neil Hume will head up coverage of the London stock market after seven years as market reporter for The Guardian.

Chris Hughes joins the paper from the website BreakingViews as a senior reporter and Sarah Spikes is joining as a reporter from Dow Jones.

Long-serving companies reporter Sophy Buckley has left the company after 10 years to join Bath-based PR firm Clarity Communications.

These appointments follow news last week that the FT had poached Guardian business editor Paul Murphy to be development editor of FT.com.

In an internal FT move the paper’s US business editor Dan Roberts is returning to London to edit the Lombard column. Former Lombard editor Martin Dickson has been promoted to deputy editor.

Lionel Barber, who was appointed editor in November, said: "These are important appointments for us which will considerably strengthen our coverage of corporate Britain and the City of London — our core business."

News that the FT is hiring again comes after several months of widespread job cuts across the UK press.

Regional press giants Northcliffe, Newsquest and Trinity Mirror have all announced big editorial job cuts in recent months.

On the nationals side, Trinity Mirror has just axed 39 journalists from its national titles, and in November News International told staff it was freezing editorial budgets for three years.

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