FT to shift focus to digital

The Financial Times is the next paper moving towards the digital future with editor, Lionel Barber announcing the masthead will produce a single, global daily newspaper, instead of regional editions.

“Journalists will publish stories to meet peak viewing times on the web rather than old print deadlines,” Barber said in the announcement to staff. “This will require a change in mindset for editors and reporters, but it is absolutely the right way forward in the digital age.”

Barber added that the daily print edition would be driven by what its reporters publish online, with context added to web versions of articles.

By making a priority of digital content, The Financial Times, owned by British publishing company Pearson, joins other publications such as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times in aiming to expand their online reach in the face of increased competition from digital-only rivals and social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook.

In the note to employees, Mr Barber said The FT had about 100,000 more digital subscriptions than print ones, adding that the publication had to adapt to readers changing habits to remain relevant. Average daily print subscribers totalled 236,281 in August, a 15 per cent drop from the year-earlier month, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

The message also hinted at redundancies down the track with Mr Barber explaining in the message that employees would have to make “informed choices about their careers”. In January, the newspaper said it was cutting its journalist staff by 25 positions.

Since becoming editor in 2006, Mr Barber has overseen an increased push into online publishing, including the creation of a pay wall for the newspaper’s website.

“This is no time to stand still,” Mr Barber said. “The competitive pressures on our business to adapt to an environment where we are increasingly being read on the desktop, smartphone and tablet remain as strong as ever.”

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