Inside a 21st century newsroom by Alexandra Stevenson

Friday 2 October 2009

In the business of news there is one overriding fear: that the traditional newspaper may not be around for much longer. This fear is palpable in almost every newsroom. But it is not present at the Financial Times where one simple belief, that informative news and analysis is both fundamental and valuable, drives it forward.

A would be reporter finds this a serious relief. As an intern on the world desk I have the privilege of sitting in on morning ‘huddles’ as world news editors map out the daily broadsheet like a game plan, negotiating words and space. I see which stories make the cut and have gotten a quick lesson on why others do not. I watch as the news editors liaise with correspondents around the world, commissioning collaborative stories across continents. Most interesting, I see how the paper, with an eye to the technology that is affecting the balance sheets of all news organisations, trains each journalist to file their copy online, in some cases before the story hits the pink pages the next day.

Throughout this period of observation I am encouraged to contribute, to listen and to be trained. This is not your typical internship, but then again, this is not your typical paper.

So while most newsrooms now opine about what a great industry the newspaper business was, I am reassured that at the FT, editors, reporters, subs, researchers and the rest of the team are quietly moving forward, without fear or favour, leading the industry to what a great newspaper needs to be in a modern and thoroughly literate reincarnation.


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