I heard it from The Guardian's Josh Halliday first. Josh is the Guardian's media and technology reporter and writes prolifically - as well as tweets constantly - on the subject. Ironically I was working from home on a presentation designed to educate a group of lawyers about how people's changed (and changing) news consumption habits are transforming the debate on the relative value of online versus hard copy press coverage, when I saw Josh's tweet: he was preparing to publish a Guardian article revealing the Financial Times' new "Digital First" Strategy.
Where did you find this out? I asked him. Are you at a press conference? "No, I've got hold of a leaked email from editor Lionel Barber to all staff." Bet the FT loved that. "They are in the throes of a 25 net reduction in headcount, after hiring in 10 new journalists for digital roles. The email explains this is "a big cultural shift" for the business daily. The internal email sets out the paper's new position as "serving a digital platform first and a newspaper second." According to Josh's full story posted later that day, one of the world's most iconic newspaper brands is "reshaping for the digital age".
Particularly interesting in Josh's story were Barber's comments that his challenge 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. The FT's brand of accurate, authoritative journalism can thrive, but only if it adapts to the demands of our readers in digital and in print, still a vital source of advertising revenues."
Reading this put me in mind of The Lawyer magazine's announcement earlier this month (did you see the full page advert on the inside front page of the first print edition this year?) detailing how it is changing the way it calculates circulation figures, combining hard copy and online for the first time to put the focus rightfully on "people not platforms". It is clear we can no longer justify the idea that online media is somehow a poor relation to its hard copy cousin.
Before he joined the Guardian in 2010, Josh worked on a number of cutting edge / entrepreneurial projects, for example taking a role as Digital Media Assistant at Sunderland AFC (he studied Journalism at Sunderland University), founding Euro Collegejourn and also setting up the award-winning "hyperlocal" news site SR2 Blog. This new year he was listed as one of the media industry's 30 To Watch, an annual spotlight on top up-and-coming media talent. This man has a passion for the revolution in journalism, and a killer instinct for being first with a story. So if you want to be ahead of the curve, make sure to follow his stories in the Guardian stories - and follow the man on Twitter.
For more information on how consumption of news via TV, Radio, Newspapers and Internet has changed, click here for a Click here for a detailed report by Ofcom.
Loved Creative Cow's modernist rendition of Sheridan's 18th Century "masterpiece" The Rivals (think white crinolines and bloomers without the fabric to cover them, and wigs made from paper). I caught up with the touring production at Windsor's Theatre Royal this week. What a treat!
Reading up about Sheridan after the performance, I was intrigued to learn of a stomach-churning alternative to court action for defamation claims, which was apparently quite the norm three centuries ago. When Captain Thomas Mathews wrote a newspaper article defaming Sheridan's soon-to-be wife, the acclaimed playwrite famously challenged him to a bloody dual. A simple matter of honour apparently and quite the expected course of action in those days. The first fight ended uneventfully enough, but a rematch resulted in some serious injuries on both sides and a lot of blood being lost. We may complain of the ridiculous sums paid out in damages for defamation today, but this tale puts all that into perspective: when we compare with the common practice in Sheridan's day, we could have it a lot worse!
Well done to our Sophie, for making the voluntary PR team for Dulwich Arts Festival this May. Competition was fierce for the role as it is a big year for the Festival: its 20th anniversary celebration. Sophie was keen to get involved and give something back to the community.
I'll be making space in this blog for Sophie to detail what the Festival holds in store and how she's enjoying working with a rather different part of the broadsheet and broadcast media than she's used to - the arts and culture sections rather than the business and weekend money teams.
We'll have to organise some Kysen outings to the Festival too. Just to show our solidarity of course....