How the FT changed its breaking news strategy

Future News 64

After a seven-year run, it looks like it’s over for fastFT, the Pink ‘Un’s New York, London and Hong Kong-based service that provided real-time news and views 24-hours a day (at least in the week). The last fastFT story was published on 11 August and the FT has confirmed to FN that the business-focused outlet is changing its strategy around breaking news to “make our reporting sharper, more focused and more relevant to FT readers”. The FT spokesperson added: “The team works as part of a global breaking news hub, covering only the biggest market moving stories and producing the FT’s hugely successful live blogs.”

The decision marks one of Roula Khalaf’s most noticeable early moves at the top of the FT after succeeding Lionel Barber as editor in January. It also comes after the publication announced pay cuts and a reduction in working hours for staff earning £50,000 or more. The 10% Covid-19-related reduction came into effect in July, despite the FT attracting 50,000 additional sign-ups during the start of the pandemic.

BBC News also recently changed its approach to breaking news, with the shuttering of its business live blog. An interesting move since ChartBeat research found that live blogs “by far” attracted the most traffic earlier in the year, but the format underperformed on social media. Live blogs were often whirled into action around major news events. However, many outlets, including the FT, The Guardian and The Telegraph, now use them everyday to keep their readers informed, sometimes across multiple verticals.

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Earnings 📈

  • Photo agency Shutterstock posted record Q3 earnings yesterday thanks to subscribers to its services jumping from 184,000 to 255,000. The company said its net income for the three months ended 30 September was at £22.6m, a significant increase compared to $4.9m over the same period last year. Shutterstock CEO Stan Pavlovsky described the results as “tremendous” as the business declared a quarterly dividend of $0.17 per share, no doubt giving shareholders even more to shout about.

  • After quietly reporting its 2019 results (see FN 63 below) for its international divisions, BuzzFeed has told the Wall Street Journal that it will break-even this year. It is unclear what an exit now looks like for the company though.

💼 Jobs and business

  • The New York Times is opening a new bureau in Nashville, Tennessee, with the hope of generating greater coverage of the South.

  • Happy 10th birthday to the i Paper, a rare print and apolitical success story.

  • The BBC has launched a new show, Morning Live.

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Illustration: Freepik.