WAN-IFRA

A publication of the World Editors Forum

Date

Sat - 25.10.2014


Digital First

The Financial Times is adopting a digital first approach, as detailed yesterday in a memo from editor-in-chief Lionel Barber to staff, published in the Guardian. “We need to ensure that we are serving a digital platform first, and a newspaper second,” Barber wrote, inspired by a visit to Silicon Valley last year which, for him, “confirmed the speed of change.”

The memo focused on the importance of proactively adapting to the new digital age, at a time when 25% of the FT’s online traffic now comes from mobile. The FT will be launching new digital products and services, Barber said, such as a new Weekend FT app and “Fast FT” for markets.

A key aspect of the changes is reducing the cost of producing a newspaper and subsequently increasing investments online. Some resources will be shifted from print to digital, and journalists will be trained “to operate to the best of their abilities,” Barber wrote. The paper is about to launch a voluntary redundancy scheme in an attempt to reduce costs by £1.6m this year. It plans to lose 35 of its current staff, while introducing 10 more digital jobs.

“We need to become content editors rather than page editors,” he said, emphasizing this essential change in mindset, while calling for all to “think harder about a more dynamic and inter-active form of FT journalism beyond the printed word.” It will be a "big cultural shift," he believes.

Author

Emma Goodman's picture

Emma Goodman

Date

2013-01-22 19:28

The newsroom of Le Journal de Montréal, the largest-circulation French-language newspaper in North America, has a distinctive feature: it is practically devoid of journalists.

This is not because Québecor Media Inc, the tabloid’s parent company and one of Canada’s largest media conglomerates, has locked them outside of the building, as it did on January 24, 2009, causing 253 of the tabloid’s unionised staff to picket outside for two years, in what became the longest media labour dispute in Canadian history; rather, it is part of the company’s latest modernization strategy.

“The news isn’t [in the newsroom], it is outside with people. This is where my journalists are,” Le Journal de Montréal's Editor in Chief Dany Doucet reportedly said earlier this year in an interview with Le ProjetJ, an industry news site sponsored by the Canadian Journalism Foundation. “They come here when they have something specific to do in the office.”

Author

Emma Knight's picture

Emma Knight

Date

2012-07-24 11:10

Digital First recognizes the importance of mobile in today’s news landscape.

Not the type of mobile that we wrote about last week, mind you; this kind is designed to pull into a high school parking lot equipped with lawn chairs and laptops just in time for the big game, sharing its WiFi and donuts with local bloggers.

Beginning this summer, residents of towns, suburbs and sprawling counties across the US are liable to stumble upon something resembling the above-described new media tailgate party – also known as a pop-up newsroom – at a local sporting event or community get-together.

The fully loaded newsmobile is just one of several crowdsourced ideas intended to place reporters face-to-face with the people for and about whom they write.

At the turn of 2012, Steve Buttry, the Director of Community Engagement and Social Media at Digital First, challenged all of the newsrooms under the company's umbrella to come up with fresh ideas for engaging with and serving their local communities, according to a post by Randy Parker, Managing Editor of the York Daily Record, on the YDR Insider blog.

Author

Emma Knight's picture

Emma Knight

Date

2012-07-02 12:53

"Fairfax of the Future"

  • 1,900 jobs to be cut over the next 3 years
  • 300 jobs to be shed in Metro division over 2-3 months
  • 2 Metro dailies to shrink to tabloid size on March 4, 2013
  • Digital paywalls to be introduced in 2013
  • 2 printing presses to be shut down by June 2014
  • Expected annual savings of $235 million by 2015

Fairfax is today announcing fundamental changes to the way we do business,” reads the memo that one of Australia’s largest media companies lodged with the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) on Monday, sending shockwaves through the press.

The changes, which include the elimination of 1,900 jobs over the next three years, are expected to reduce costs by $235 million over the same period, and to provide Fairfax with the flexibility to shift toward a “digital-only model if that is what is required in the future,” says the document, entitled “Fairfax of the Future.”

Author

Emma Knight's picture

Emma Knight

Date

2012-06-18 17:06

Everyone defines "digital first" a little bit differently, said Jim Brady, editor-in-chief at Digital First Media in the US, but what is important is that a switch to digital first involves real changes, not just rhetoric. Brady was speaking in Paris at a conference organized by the Online News Association and GESTE, a French online publishers group.

Going digital first is not a “shift” or a “transition:” it requires a reinvention of your operation, he said. And this can work, he emphasised. Under the leadership of CEO John Paton, the Journal Register Company (now part of Digital First Media) went from bankruptcy in 2009 to earnings of $41 million in 2010, and 30% of its revenue now comes from digital, up from 5%.

Digital First Media now runs the JRC and MediaNews Group: a total of 75 dailies and about 250 weeklies.

Brady pointed out that figures from Pew’s State of the News Media project show that, at least in the US, more and more people are accessing news online and it is extremely unlikely that the trend will reverse. Digital first is therefore the strategy for the future, he believes, and he warned about waiting until it’s too late to change course.

Author

Emma Goodman's picture

Emma Goodman

Date

2012-06-01 17:06

Newsrooms from Montreal to Denver are editing out their copy desks to keep up with digital’s dual imperative: tight deadlines and tighter budgets.

Monday’s announcement by Postmedia Network means that dozens of copy editing jobs will be axed across Canada in coming weeks; Twitter speculation has it that 23 editors will be let go at the Montreal Gazette alone, reports the Huffington Post Canada.

Yesterday, Postmedia's the National Post offered a warning of the perils of doing away with copy editors when it mistakenly published a crossword puzzle that had already been filled in, revealed Poynter.

Author

Emma Knight's picture

Emma Knight

Date

2012-05-30 13:54

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