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.