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Summary:

The Financial Times is hoping that at least 35 staff members will accept buyouts as it attempts to prepare for a digital-first future. That future includes hiring 10 new digital employees and being choosier about stories, editor Lionel Barber wrote Monday in an email to employees.

Financial Times

Financial Times editor Lionel Barber wrote in an email to staff Monday that the newspaper will offer staff buyouts in an attempt to save £1.6 million as it also hires 10 new employees on the digital side. “The intention is to reduce the cost of producing the newspaper and give us the flexibility to invest more online,” he wrote in the email, posted in full at the Guardian. About 35 people would need to take the buyout, or layoffs will begin.

“Our common cause is to secure the FT’s future in an increasingly competitive market, where old titles are being routinely disrupted by new entrants such as Google and LinkedIn and Twitter,” Barber wrote, citing a “visit to Silicon Valley last September” as a factor in affirming his belief that the paper has to adapt. He said mobile now accounts for 25 percent of the FT’s digital traffic.

Among the changes Barber outlines for a digital-first future:

  • The newspaper should be choosier in what it selects to report, with “fewer commissioning channels. Equally, news editors must clearly identify priority stories…We must rethink how we publish our content, when and in what form, whether conventional news, blogs, video or social media.”
  • A streamlined international presence with reporters in “the right places ready to devote their talents to covering the big FT stories and not risk becoming isolated in silos or geographies.” There should also be “a more common international edition.”
  • “New products and services online in 2013, starting with our ‘Fast FT’ markets and a new Weekend FT app.”

Stateside, the New York Times said in December that it is seeking about 30 managers to take buyouts by January 24, with layoffs to follow if needed. Capital New York reports that only five people had done so by Monday morning; one of them, Alice DuBois, took a job at BuzzFeed.

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  1. @ Laura Great article – thank you for highlighting also the human impact of all the changes happening as publishing transitions from print to digital faster and faster. FT is clearly spearheading this transition. Just shows how a trip or a the right conversations at an event can create the momentum for change.

  2. Laura Great article – thank you for highlighting also the human impact of all the changes happening as publishing transitions from print to digital faster and faster. FT is clearly spearheading this transition. Just shows how a trip or a the right conversations at an event can create the momentum for change.

  3. samizdats editor Wednesday, January 23, 2013

    As a disappointed former subscriber I think the FT does indeed need to choose better what it reports on; the Luxury companies section in particular still reads like gossip columns; but above all they have no idea of the right price point for its consumers outside of companies… Last time I checked it was something like 350 USD per year – with no access to the Lex column… The comments are also on a much lower level then their articles.

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