'Haircut and make-up' for revamped Financial Times

and Saturday magazine

Dummies of the new-look FT front-page

The Financial Times reinvents itself from Saturday as a more rounded product, confidently proclaiming it is “the ONLY paper its readers need”.

It has more pages, more staff – up to 10 extra when recruiting is complete – and will identify changes straight away with a revamped skyline, now above the masthead.

UK edition editor Philip Stephens said: “We want to say to people the FT is a complete read. It will be modern, bolder, making more choices for our readers.

“We have taken something of a battering because the stock market has been falling for three years. But this is a sign of our confidence in our core domestic market.”

Relaunch day provides the weekend FT with a fat package. It will normally have three broadsheet sections and a magazine, expanded regularly with the addition of its other magazine, How to spend it, described by weekend FT editor Chrystia Freeland as the “jewel in the crown” of its weekend wares, plus a variety of supplements.

Freeland said her team had been doing dummies for weeks. “Some pages we have probably done 10 versions of. I think of it as a sophisticated piece of engineering because we now have a UK paper on a Saturday which differs quite a bit in its structure from the international edition,” she said.

Saturday is the best sales day for the newspaper at 457,336 (152,831 in the UK), and weekend FT gets a major share of the £10m resources Pearson is putting into the relaunch.

The front section remains the most recognisable. “We are trying not to change dramatically how the FT looks,” said Freeland “but to make it that much more attractive – a haircut and some new make-up.”

There will be a succinct weekly review page in this section and the Big Page, the sizeable analysis page introduced by editor Andrew Gowers to the Monday to Friday newspaper, will now also appear on Saturdays. There will be a sports page – also being introduced Monday to Friday – and television listings.

Companies and Markets, now finding little room in the front section, is being given a broadsheet section of its own, Money and Business, “to give the reader everything they need to know about wealth”. It will be led by Kevin Brown, editor of the Money section, assisted by markets editor Deborah Hargreaves and Andrew Slade, financial news editor.

The current Weekend is the third section, edited by Emma Tucker and more tightly focused to encompass “the pleasures of life” as well as features.

There will be two alternating columnists, novelist Rachel Cusk and Gerry Baker, the newspaper’s lead US columnist. Freeland claims it will be “the most intelligent lifestyle section in British newspapers”.

The new Financial Times Magazine, edited by John Lloyd, “is the FT in magazine form”, according to Freeland. It will cover arts, culture, books, ideas, politics, economics, business and reportage. “The closest equivalent, and this is aiming high, is the Sunday New York Times Magazine,” she said.

Next Monday will see the new-look daily paper. Some of the typography has been sharpened to give a cleaner look and the core content has been strengthened to widen the FT’s lead in business and corporate news, regionally and in London, and national news is also to be broadened.

Inside Track will change its title to Features and its direction towards people-oriented stories, with a daily theme.

By Jean Morgan

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