Cutting a print edition, appointing dedicated “news integrators” and a properly articulated online news presence are all part of the Financial Times’s “Newsroom 2009” plan, detailed in a leaked strategy document which has found its way online.
The document sets out a new publishing model designed to unite its cross-media processes, and ensure journalists put online at the front end of the editorial chain in every case:
- Reporters are expected to add links, company data, write headlines and check for length on their stories, plus build on them once online.
- Editing desks then check everything, link the content to ready-made newspaper subbing templates, before the subs desk finish the cycle and press the publish button.
Further emphasizing online as the place to break news is the decision to replace the third printed edition in London with a later second edition.
This does appear to be a genuine web-first publishing strategy, and a step forward from the FT’s current model which holds back some stories for its print editions.
It’s worth noting that the FT already does the two things digital refuseniks are always insisting will save newspapers: they charge a subscription and they focus on quality content. But the point is that the future of newspapers requires greater change than that.
It’s pleasing to note that the FT is really getting involved in Newsroom 2009 and beyond.