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Read this: Media Masters - John Ridding

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Media Masters - John Ridding…



Media matters with Paul Blanchard welcome to media Masters the series of one-to-one interviews with people at the top of the media game today.

I'm here at the Financial Times and John by the chief executive John ridding ft in 1988 15 years later he established the newspapers Asia Edition and made the jump from gen list of chief executive in 2006 famously introducing their new subscription model John is also chairman of room to read a US based charity that supports education and literacy in developing countries John thank you for joining me.

Thank you search on the ft now has more than £900,000 subscribers for the first time across print and digital as the chief executive presumably you you welcome that yeah, I think that it improves.

What we've always believe that quality journalism done right with the right business model is a growth industry to Quality business has obviously been a lot of Doom and Gloom around.

Use Media some real challenges pictures of print Media but I think the growth in our subscriber base to an all-time high is the highest been in our 130 years of history shows that the radio as an audience for quality journalism and audience that willing to pay so I think that the team ft across the world feels inspired by the same things that there's a lot more gross to be had an ECG now to look back and say yes, that was the right decision in hindsight, but of course at the time to change that strategy in go behind the paywall in card this niche must have been quite a great thing to do really cos it could have gone wrong.

It was such a brave and like a lot of things.

I think that necessity was the mother in better than mention to the ft was in many ways struggling a bit.

It was a really tough industry environment we could see advertising are traditional main source of revenue declining like it was very 1 structurally and partly because the introduction of digital Technology shows very turbulent.

So we need to do something and that encourages to be pretty bold but it was quite controversial at the

Time when we announced we are going to be launching a subscription model in charging for journalism online and I remember going to the US and the west coast explaining the new model and the new strategy and running into quite a lot of criticism and black people thought we just when I was told directly you just don't get it the internet wants to be free and I remember at the time think I will have just weird.

I mean Internet doesn't want anything it's so it's a channel is slippery channel, but there was it on most of the religious belief in the Freedom of Information and neither will hold on we invest a lot in producing quality journalism, because that's what I read is want and I'm sure they'll be willing to pay for that online as they doing print so you know we introduce this system and we found pretty quickly actually that Instinct was right that people would be prepared to pay for after journalism online, but it was a very difficult take me to difficult as well as a whole.

New business model as a lot of them technology in learning behind building subscription model I think people think I would see you just start charging.

It's a lot more complex than that so was it was a difficult move and took some time to gain momentum, but we will always be confident in the value of ft journalism and that really sustained as through through that change in the business model Brighton the other thing that was almost a dietary puffy honest was a huge unintended benefits.

I mean frankly we launched this new business model because we needed to get revenues online and I'm as well as in friend.

What what about we haven't really realised was the value of the data that we got about our readers because I love print printer fantastic format, but it's you don't get that level of insight and engagement into what readers are reading how much time they're spending with particular subjects and authors and articles so that should have.

Peter Davison the deepest understanding of other hand of our readership and that was tremendously powerful for all areas of the business whether it was product development market research marketing sales and advertising so that's really been I think the the big the big change and it was slightly unexpected just how important it never came for the business because Innocence the only metric you have when you were print edition is how many did you sell on the new stand that day which is incredibly Blunt instrument really very blunt and I remember when I was on the editorial side and I was getting on the train in Hampton Wick as well as living at the time in South London and I'll be so looking to see if I could see what league is it reading time? It's got to be very upset when I saw somebody take something and written just check it on the floor.

That wasn't good feedback, but you could do reader research through the paper could have read a pound.

I think you could do you can look at the dwell time on individual out all the incredible domino exactly how many minutes each reader is spending of the particular story in Franklin we do is we have for I think one of the key metrics redeveloped is engagements said of how long do people spend reading articles, how often do they come to the FTM when they're they're how much time do they spend and we get all of our readers a school so we understand in detail.

What are readers want and how Wingate they are DFT and then we try obviously to build an engagement to make them as loyal as possible.

So they become a subscribers has subscribed to the online for years have probably from when you put the power on in I love ft weekend for example absolutely read it every weekend.

I haven't picked a paper.

Copy of the ft 4 years.

May be in an airport.

Lounge somewhere might have done but even then sometimes if I've got on my iPad why would I want that copy in my hand by got my iPad still?

I mean obviously the big shift to be trained is digital is the real Dynamo of the business and particularly for a global business like the ft.

It enables us to reach readers anywhere on the planet pretty efficiently anytime so obviously with print your constrains.

You have keep building print site that expensive and if I go with digital to clean mobile and we've made a big push and mobile as well.

It's a much easier distribution model all that said I am a believer in front and I think I'll always be a believer in print.

I think it's a a unique formatted has elements and attributes the digital doesn't have little is quite often.

Give me what I've asked for printers.

Give me what I didn't know I wanted curated experience.

Yeah, but also the one that tickly people in leadership positions.

It's they need to be taken outside their immediate Focus and they need to be surprised by ideas and stories.

You'll definitely get that imprint because you're looking at an article.

And right next to it.

There's another Rascal that you haven't put in your search request and it turned out to be thought-provoking and interesting and broadens your Horizons I think that's very important at a time when people are very focused on specialist areas does a silo mindset so I can print does give that serendipity.

It's also quite a personal experience of something tactile about Prince and The Weeknd ft is a wonderful print experience.

I personally save weekend after use for my business trip swag sit in the plane and read every word of the weekend ft and it's pleasurable I think I really enjoyed imprint and lot of people do I what will probably see is so generally when a new technology or format comes along people are very quick to write the obituary for the previous technology in football for men so I didn't win win TV came along.

I think everybody thought that was the end of radio and it hasn't been having radio remains a wonderful former Drayton too much are the new and the new thing.

Put Castle see what we're doing now many people like voice that like that human experience and I think what we're going to see with digital and print is an adjustment on the spectrum of formats and technologies that won't be the death of print but prints attributes and advantages will be shifted along that so format or that spectrum of Media delivery channels, so I can print has a good and healthy future and we doing well in print people don't often realise this but I print operation is very resilient and actually is profitable and before advertising which is pretty unusual because the the cover price that we charge on the imaginary as we have covers the cost of printing advertising is wonderful.

We love it.

Will have as much as we can get but it is profil before that advertising which I think for advertisers is also a big deal because it shows that this is a very well-respected and

Eating a format you are right about that print allows that room for serendipity because as you were saying that one of them that I thought about his how the online experience allows you to not only create your own experience + exclude certain things for example and not interested in sports really I muted any phrase do with the World Cup on Twitter but you know a lot of people doing this to the point where your ending up with brexit and trump and be with two different news feed in Facebook wear if you're right leaning all you new sources one thing and if you left Linux a complete the other do you think that that it's actually becoming a more divisive Force now overall rather than you know inclusive I do I think want a big problems that we're all facing is polarization and it's chicken and egg does the polarization of Media lead to the polarization of politics or vice versa but there's only going on in parallel, and I think it's pretty worrying and I knew you do have this with silo mindset people only talking or hearing from people with similar views, are you see this?

Facebook and friends and whatever you have a kind of cause a world that is similar to yours and it's nice that you often want to hear from like-minded people, but it's dangerous if that's already hear about I think there's a very big responsibility on media and I think one of the things that the ft tries to do is to put all sides of the argument you don't we clearly have views and editorial columns, but we do run a range of opinions and views because I think it's part of generating and stimulating and sustaining that's informed debate that allows ultimately Better Decisions by business leaders by politicians, but I buy our readers.

I think people do need to be taken out of their silos and media has a very important role to play in there.

Not just reinforcing existing views.

I want to talk about that the ftc views on brexit and few other things in a second but just to finish off on the move to digital at you are right that.

Clearly those people said that you're out of your mind and that you didn't get it the time will clearly wrong but in One Sense they had an argument because it wasn't a level playing field because there were those like the BBC has huge amounts of Incredible journalism free at the point of use because of the way that is funded by the state you've got the Guardian Media Group Alan rusbridger huge push to digital that was funded frankly by the sale of Auto Trader and the Scott trust.

It wasn't as if you were competing on a level playing field.

I think that there's a whole range of business models that can work there's no one silver bullet so the ft subscription model has been imitated and copied in in various formats and that's fine.

We have no problem with that but I wouldn't say that the way we've gone about this is that the only solution that's going to lead to sustainable futures for medium so I think of a number of ways of doing this.

I think of a few key points so that there was this because of the explosion of the internet and then the rise of these huge social media and search plan.

I think a lot of people a lot of Media organisations were captivated by scale by reach and the idea that they could suddenly reach huge audiences.

It was pretty intoxicating the problem of course and we always worry about this is a number of issues one is that the scale that you need gets bigger and bigger and bigger around because you are up against these huge tech Giants Facebook has and it's 2 1/2 billion users in more than one and half billion logon everyday, so the audience is that these platforms have them a message Sophia going to play in the scale advertising game you're going to have to have huge scale and a course take and change the weather never they want and Facebook change that should have newsfeed early this year and there has huge implications for organisations that are based strategy on on advertising so we always very mindful that you have to control your destiny.

You've had to have the Direct relationship with readers and we're always also rather sceptical of this concept of free because going back to always win that earlier, Italy

Told that information wants to be free well, that wasn't right it.

Also wasn't true or fair because ultimately this wasn't free that there was more than a decade through which these large tech players and platforms.

We're getting our data and that data is available and I think is only recently that people for hold on a minute this will never free episode data and it's been used to drive huge advertising businesses that are the biggest of biggest ever so I think these things are a little more complex in terms of business models and publisher approaches and then off and meets the eye but ultimately I do think for any publication particularly involved in quality journalism to have a sustainable future it does come down to the direct relationship with a with leadership and another audience is a number of ways that you can do that.

You can face it on particular columnists on on brand attributes or on special areas of coverage, but if you don't have something differentiated something.

Special that makes your Brand and your publication worth paying for in some way then you're going to struggle when I think you wanted to ask yourself a question mark but willing to pay anything.

What are we doing? It was the value.

They were putting out there and I need to have the confidence to be different.

It's very easy and tempting just follow the herd, but there's no real value proposition there so I didn't EFT as always been very confident about being different and that's where the value lies is the relationship with social media a bit of a kind of friend in me status in survivors, you not on your Facebook page and your your inner cinecentre providing content for Facebook as they get the revenue of the ads that are on that page.

Where is if you use them as a signpost, then you know that's fine, but then Facebook I'm going to get any money from that so they're going to as you said they prioritise that is the same with Twitter in terms of who owns the experience is Lionel barber tweets an interesting article if I click on it it.

Open my browser and take me to add because the cookies would then no from the ft.com site that I'm a subscriber and then do it Twitter tries to control the browser experience and takes me to on in Twitter Browser which doesn't know I'm a subscriber to the ft which means I can't read the article so there is a bit of a battle going on in terms of the almost of physical ownership of the screen space very much, so I think there's a couple of dimensions to there and it's probably one of the areas.

I spend most of my time thinking about which is the ecosystem and how the ft fits in with that and we always been pretty clear about the costs and benefits of the frenemy phrase that you use and gives absa you're right that you want some respects.

These are the biggest marketing platforms in history, so the ability to put ft journalism in front of a huge order your abilities great unprecedented never been systems like that in history, so clearly that's an opportunity, but if I'm gets carried away just buy.

Then one suddenly finds that your own connection to your readership gets compromised and we've always been very determined to have a direct relationship with our readers is essential so it's a question of how we work with those platforms to try and get an optimal outcome for the ft, but I think I think you done that we successfully we've had some pretty constructive discussions over the last year or so with Google to improve the way the Google platform works for the ft.

But ultimately I think it's in everybody's interest to do a better job of making this ecosystem work for quality journalism, because you know I think you know take for example Google it's mission statement is to organise the world's information.

I think that's an admirable objective, but it's only a dribble or any kind of makes any meaningful sense if that information is worth organise.

And what we've seen anything in recent years obviously the rise of fake news and now we're talking about deep fake news which is gone beyond text to fake video and sandwiches near truly disturbing.

We've seen clickbait.

We've seen just sensationalising used to encourage people to share so they've been a kind of degradation frankly of the news and information ecosystem and unsurprisingly around them and erosion of trust and confidence which is deeply troubling on a social level on a political level so I think is a kind of need and responsibility for the Tech platform search and social media to think hard about doing a better job to make sure that quality journalism is present on their platforms in a way that sustains the business models for those publishers and I think I've been pretty slow generally to recognise the importance of their we are seeing movement.

I don't think we seeing enough movement.

I just taking too long, but I think it's pretty important for all players are in their information ecosystem.

Is that in can of giving the likes of Google and Facebook and Twitter this kind of custodianship of who is a trusted writing in the battle to tackle fake news weather and you know the blind spots that cultural biases the fact that they're not democratically accountable and they're so huge now that Innocence meet me threatening to leave Twitter's not gonna make any difference and then know that so, how do you do that especially when you you have a multi-jurisdictional issues? I mean you know Germany is already extradited one Turkish journalist back to Turkey from God knows.

What just because he had the temerity to criticize the president you've got Holocaust denial which is of course is unpleasant but is protected by the First Amendment in the US and could we will be Unthinkable that they would ever take anything like that down.

What does a criminal offence in France and Germany so there's some very very difficult issues here to.

Michael the diffusion of difficult issues and I think that the universe very very hard for any platform and then they will say this as well two actors sensors and Arbiter's I'm building a septic have to do a degree because you know ultimately I believe their publishers that they may deny that but they publish and ultimately whether it's the algorithms or people including our and deciding what information gets put in terms of what people on what terms that for me feels a lot like her publisher function than that raises all sorts of regulatory issues and is quite ironic in the sense that the traditional so-called traditional news media is very tightly regulated and it was a good reason for regulation unit has a big responsibility the Fourth Estate it's it's an important part of society and governance and politics regulator traditional Media very little if any regulation on some of the biggest information sources platforms publishers in history not

The times so there is some huge questions, then, I think there's a lot of issues, but I think one central and simple issue is to do a better job of making this ecosystem works better for quality publishers now.

We seem quite a lot of noise and talk and then the action around pressing down or campaigning against fake news and thousands of people have been recruited by Facebook friends to help identify weed and stop fake news and that's necessary and positive but is by no means sufficient the way I think about it is a bit like that fairground game of whack-a-mole that you hit one fake news WhatsApp and then becoming more creative all the time in this so mentioned earlier deepfake.

You know where we're seeing video.

There's a Washington University developed a video of Obama a President Obama and it's indistinguishable from real Obama and that

To be pretty worrying when you can manipulate sound and images at a neighbouring village on Facebook friends with them and they presented a video of Obama that's where he admitted to the actually was born in Kenya me clearly.

That's fake news vitamin snakes have debunked in here, but he you know he's not a sophisticated Media person and he presented on his New Street to say wow.

You're the risk and peril there are huge.

So clearly that needs to be cracked down on severely, but you're not going to win just by playing defense and I think that what has to happen is that the business models of quality publishers need to be effective on these large technology platforms.

I think there has been this almost doctrinal approach to relegate a subscription models to relegate paid for journalism in their search functions in their algorithms.

No doubt that's that's been the case and it goes back to this mantra of information wants to be free that it was very difficult.

For those of you has been that advertising alone cannot sustain quality journalism.

It cannot find the size of newsrooms the training the craft of journalism, which you know we've been out for 130 years.

That's a major sustained investment and when you look at what's happening happening in the world advertising that will not sustain those newsrooms so I paid for revenue model is in important for that Direct relationship with readers but also for the sustainable revenues and all of the big tech players have taken a very long time to embrace paid for journalism as a viable business model or a bit of all they care about now as I say we have seen recently moved towards have taken a decade to get their attention on that issue with disappointing and we need to see I think sustained and serious activity and engagement from the big chair.

Social media players so that we can play off ends we can put quality journalism in front of readers globally and really balance out there an imbalance in the information ecosystem and to put that colleges and wherever it should be in front of readers for quality journalism.

Is is under attack as never before not just a commercially but also you not to state the obvious we have the president of the United States the leader of the Free World that regularly attacks quality journalism and Culture falsely fake news and Mark Thompson sitting in the chair recently and he said well as a citizen and profoundly depressed at that but as chief executive of a New York Times with there is a trump dividend.

He calls it the trump bump where they have hundreds of thousands of new paying subscribers who have flocked to invest in quality jealous, because they realise what Society gets if you don't did you have a kind of duality approached about where I have a very mystic miserable as a citizen doing reasonably well as chief executive VF

Yeah, I have a very similar perspective which is precisely that but we have seen any we talked about the ft.

Business model understanding our readers more deeply and no doubt that's been a real driver of our growth is also no doubt that the strange and troubling times in which we live have also been very conducive to driving are paid for readership base and we've seen this real time you look at the charts.

You look at the Post brexit bouncy.

Look at those the trump Bouncers no doubt but when times are challenging difficult and weird people turn to trusted guides, so we've certainly seen that and we've spent 130 years developing a reputation for furnace for accuracy for integrity for foreign all of the attributes of trust so that when the world kind of gets troubling as I think it has been being becoming and I'll many dimensions are social political tray.

Economic people turn to trusted guides like the ft in US help drive our numbers but I would also say that you know this is a bigger issue that while it's been helpful for pay for Regency broader problem of the erosion of trust in information of the way that labels and insults like fake news fake news a thrown around the 180-degree reversals in what the leader will say one day and the next day.

He is really kind of travelling from him from a very fundamental position of trust in news and information and while it had a beneficial impact on on the side of readership Base for the FDA and some others involved in college journalism.

I think we're all at the same time very troubled about what is meant for the overall world of news information Trust analysis in an hour that relationship began between power whether it's political or business.

And information data journalism is rightly respected but in a sense.

Do you consider yourself lucky that your audience and the your readership has money because they can afford to pay for the subscription because there are other elements of journalism that seems to be suffering in society like local journalism for example and you know I can afford to subscribe to the BFG but that you know it's the Solihull Gazette for example seems to be more poorly performing than ever you know in local museums.

They Jeremy Vine said on the podcast of years ago when he started as a cub reporter there was 50 people in his lot in the Leicester Mercury now.

There's three in The Newsroom so you know how do we have that balance as a society so well, just the ft is fortunate in having her as soon as business readership, but I can afford to pay for the ft.

Having said there and I think they have to use very affordable when we were charging in the same email app pricing policy, put the price up.

There was concern mainly inside the F2 yeah.

I should say actually because people were worried that we.

Newsreaders in that might lose advertising and I think people always wanted to reach as many people as possible but in the event.

I think actually I think when we put the price up my any received seven or eight letters of some concern or complaint and I responded to each of them and pointed out that quality journalism and a global Newsroom only have Correspondents everywhere from Shanghai to stop hurting that's expensive we have to train and invest but ultimately we were still charging less than a double espresso from Most High Street Worle High Street coffee change so there is that sense of perspective around price so I never thought actually don't think the ft is expensive for what we offer what we provide.

I also think as well.

That's other news organisations can and should be able to charge and whether it's around a brand proposition or around particular column store around particular areas of coverage of people value what you're producing.

You should be able to charge and

They don't value what you're producing have to ask yourself.

What are you doing? And I think as well people feel well young people various demographic cohorts.

They won't pay the news or information or stuff online and I get anything that's true.

I think probably though the fed has passed, but I'm sure we all remember the ringtone craze on phones.

That's a big industry a very big in the training as a Bible 10 billion dollar global industry mainly based on teenagers.

I don't want might want anymore, but they were Sam pricing is possible for all publishers if they have the right proposition and if they don't have right proposition mother should be asking themselves about what their publishing I'm asking a second about your journey, because I'm incredibly fascinated by them the Year the move from journalism to to management at poacher turned gamekeeper.

I'm not quite sure what's top of your to-do list at the moment.

Is it to get out of bed?

Right, I've got to get the subscriber list to over a million, what's on the arm short medium and long-term to-do list as chief exec of firstly the Poacher turned gamekeeper.

I regard as we we call the church and state.

I've never really been sure which is church from which US state but there's a very clear understanding that there is a church and there is a state and when I was a journalist.

I was on one side of the fencing as chief.

Exec time on the other hand I think it's very healthy because editorial independence is Central to everything we do and having a very clear understanding how much a new emailing Lionel every morning saying this is the lightest imagine anyone doing that very helpful that I know that.

He knows that I know that.

He knows where the line is so that's a lot of time and energy and emotion and I think even the after you ready get that and it's very very important, but they do because it's Central to the Brand and the Independence of editorial operation is absolutely fundamental.

Just gonna get a newspaper saying you don't take it anymore completely so what I think about now that im on this side of the fence.

What's been incredibly powerful for the ft over recent years is that goal of a million paid for readers? I think increasing this very complex fragmented industry and I think all Industries the same like has got a long and complicated whatever you do.

It's very very important for an organisation to have a clear unifying goal that everybody in the organisation can work towards can contribute to and the million for us has been very powerful.

Obviously you're not going to stop at him and say it's a million job done.

Let's go on holiday dates global domination.

Yeah, it really actually a designing a lot more time there thinking about Beyond a million and I think you know this is something that will be thinking through and much more details as a leadership team, but I think what has

Then it goes back to some of things we've been talking about earlier is the mission becomes ever more important in the times in which we live in so the powerful subscription engine and business model that we've been building is great, but it's not an end in itself.

It's a means to an end which is putting quality journalism in front of as many people as possible because we think that that is an important responsibility.

It's a very important opportunity and it's something that we can all feel proud about an excited by us the FTSE Asia edition in 2003 and every Potter from North Korea how input was launching the Chinese language ft society that is is Asia a strategic priority in terms of the growth of Reach and Influence very deep in the DNA of the ft is global we have been globally minded and internationalist for me as long as I'm off lever basically we were the first news organisation that newspaper 2.

Topman international edition the continental European Edition back in the 70s and then we added the US Edition and I set up the Asia Edition and that's natural business is global obvious it despite.

What's going on in terms of trade Wars and more nationalist politics around the place business is global and we are Believers in global business done right and that sell audience that's our community to having a presence in the big global markets and economies is crucial in China was obviously natural in the sense that that has become one of the transformative development about time has been The Rise or the return of China is a major global business and player so I'm having a operation there which puts in the Chinese language ft.

Journalism was a clear opportunity and then very consistent with our overall mission, it's also been really hard because it's a very difficult.

Market in which to operate was not just the Language by there's also date did the cultural differences and unite press freedom and all the issues around then.

We've always been very open I'd about that.

I remember when I presented to the Pearson board before we launched ftchinese.

We are owned by Pearson then and I said the word new no, we need to understand the complexities in the challenges and there is no way we are going to send so all self censor what we do and that could lead to difficulties in the Federations we've had moments where some of articles were the site has been blocked, so I said we have to go into this with open eyes because we're not going to send her not going to self censoring if that leads to issues and challenges so be it unto their credit the piss and bought it fine.

You do it on those times so we now have more than 2 million registered users in China and they think that they might know that they value the

Independent quality information that we put in front of them, so I think it's been a very important strategic move and you mentioned there that used to be on by Pearson and of course now your own banner kit.

How did that work out? How did the transition.

It's been there was a very sensitive and had to have to be handled incredibly carefully because the FTSE ft is a trophy asset and it could have met up if the process hadn't been handled very thoughtfully in very carefully it should have ended badly.

It sounded incredibly well and Nikki are a wonderful owner and you know all credit to PSN for handling the transfer and the sale with care and with integrity.

It was a very hazardous operation could have gone badly and any number of dimensions, but I think that both Pearson and Nicki had a fundamental understanding of and commitment to editorial quality and editorial independence and both.

Walks that talk I think that's Pearson made a decision and I was on the executive committee of Pearson made a decision to really focus on education which is admirable education is clearly important.

I'm involved in education at through charity education a great but it that would then mean it's not the ft.

Is it quiet and I think that you know my view and business in general.

Is you really have to specialise and focus the world is card so complex if you're not fully focused on what makes you special and different you're not going to win in you probably not going to survive and I think this took the view that education was where they were going to focus and that's absolutely correct strategic approach, but I didn't mean there for that news wasn't primary for nikkei news is primary sport they do it's all they do and therefore in terms of investment in terms of the prioritisation of OXO mindspace.

That's a natural home for the ft.

And it's been with coming up to 3 years in the think it was pretty much exactly 3 years ago that the deal was announced that three months ago, but that's that's just cos time goes so quickly as it's been a pretty pretty intense invisi journey, but it's been a wonderful journey and their wonderful owners they totally understand.

What the f t is there been very supportive in terms of investment in digital Technology they're very like-minded in terms of the news agenda, and had a think about yous so it's been very positive say 5 years from now if I can ask you to get out your crystal ball.

What will the FTB doing less off and what will it be doing more offbeat written very much by two things when it's readers and what they want to read about and to is the formats and channel through which they want to take us in may well be for instance that audio becomes a much bigger deal.

I think that you look at the Investment going into audio services whether it's homeassistant weather is in car audio has big opportunities.

There are challenges to

Because you know we spent 130 years being the best in text which is becoming more important, but you know we saw this with video to and I think we've done a good job in projecting ft journalism video with getting busy in audio and I think that's a good opportunity for you know also what year has one of the attributes like that personality that engagement then that character so we're quite excited about the opportunities that but I would say the crystal ball for 5 years.

It's hard when you look at the pace of China in only 12 years ago something I think the the iPhone was a new thing right and I don't think it'll take me to get to take things are moving so fast but I think precisely because things are moving so fast you do need to have some very clear principles and priorities around and I will always be independent quality global journalism, so whatever Channel whatever format that's what we going to do we going.

To be flexible and innovative about where that journalism is presented and how it's presented, but will be completely focused and fixated on quality journalism global journalism independent journalism minutes left likely to are you always want to be a journalist and when did you start to get an ion may be moving to management? What was the journey? So I knew I was interested in so the world affairs cos I had a very fortunate over very international upbringing.

I lived in Malaysia Singapore Hong Kong travel a lot and I was fascinated by what was changing the world and what was driving the world so how I was going to get her that I didn't really know when I kind of started off in a sort of journalism.

It was a place products of analytical the Daily News brief which analysed in detail world events and was a very good format for journalism, because it was very focused events significance and implications as a

Very tight discipline when I think that train one to think about the significance of events not just what happened and after year.

I was a guy.

I was working with him and he applied to the ft and got a job Little Heath open open the route to what was clearly in my mind the best newspaper in the world and I could see that I was ringing every day.

It's part of my my my job so I wrote and I got a very short reply saying Dear John you'd better come and see us and that was it and I came for the opposite of a Dear John letter then I had for interviews in succession, which was very intense and I started off on the what we call the foreign debts which was quite quiet now.

It's even Riley the international desk and I was just going through the copy checking motorway to happening in funneling then and then I worked on the company's desk which is crucial for anyone wanting to develop accurate the ft.

You gotta know your company's I was fortunate to work with some great colours and some

Fantastic editors and then was asked if I wanted to go off stuff and go to South Korea which was kind of a big risk even though I was fascinated by Asia Korea was pretty tough in those days.

There was as transition to democracy.

It was pretty pretty wild fantastic story on every dimension lively business economics social I got two against on a regular basis, which isn't much fun because I was so many demonstrations going on but just in terms of experience that ability to write about so many different subjects and to have a ringside seat for such a dynamic Society which I still feel very fondly about an energised by courier my experience there and then the series about the forum postings and back in London to do some editing roles and one of the great things about the ft is the variety it gives you in terms of experiences.

It's just my

St.

Unrivaled at the same time a very strong team sensing that the camaraderie is it is wonderful so that was all great and then the 8th edition was a fantastic experience as obviously been interested in Asia for many years by from an upbringing perspective but also if you are involved in business and economic journalism.

That's one of the tectonic shifts about time the shift of World business and economic power to Asia is been going on for decades and will continue to go on so seeing that saying the Rosary rise of China for a business journalist was a privilege resistance of complacency in the west are we still.

Just don't quite get it as well completion distraction.

I think one of the biggest shoes at the moment Roxy preoccupied all the world is preoccupied with what's going on with trump and brexit.

I mean time that tectonic shift is just going on all the time and it's profound and its implications and then very important and so to be able to build a t.

To set up the Asia Edition and to cover them to bring the world to Asia and Asia to the world because we have this very global perspective was incredibly exciting at all wonderful and then I got the call asking if I wanted to do something really radically quite different which is to move over the business side and become CEO and he's quite a can of Crossroads of Life type moment isn't it? It was hugely difficult that I kind of it was the hardest decision pretty much of the best take-out it and it took me at least 3 months to come to a conclusion because I love what I was doing and had a fantastic team.

It was an incredible story.

I could go wherever I wanted to report were with great colleagues edit set the agenda was in big companies often that the managers haven't done the actual job of the people are trying to manage without wanting to Aveley

Latter you imagine you're a better chief executive because you've been on the other side.

I think it's very hard in journalism or to run a news media organisation if you haven't been a journalist because you have to understand how The Newsroom operates.

I'm not saying it's impossible.

It is much easier.

If you're really understand that and certainly it's made my Roald on this side effects whether it's church in Seafield stage.

I don't think I could have done that effectively without having been a journalist and understood.

What's involved in the ft bin ticket with EFT with the Brand and the integrity in the editorial independence at the same time.

I had a soda growing sense that you know my personality and the way I operated was was more probably inclined at its essence towards management and strategy in that have been developing over a number of years.

Maybe it came on.

Mitsui expected, but these things yeah.

Yeah, there's no perfect timing as a perfect planning and went something like that comes along.

It's a huge opportunity, but it's also a mess of responsibility and I think that was my biggest concern was this was obviously a tough phase 4 news media from industry perspective and their responsibility to the business to the brand to colleagues not to mess it up the screen up a little time and frankly with a huge amount of experience.

I'd never really run a P&L which is kinda like a big deal.

So that sense of responsibility combined with the flowers having a really good time and the anxiety about not screwy that was in a very difficult but I took the plunge and I think the first year was really hard because they're having to learn a number of things real time with was tough.

I was lucky that I had some great colleagues who ready.

Out but it was it really was your credit credit change and a course even though I've been a business journalist for 15 years you can have won once you're actually in that seat of having to run a business you realise how hard it is.

It's a lot Harder Than You Think even when you're writing articles critiquing business and business leaders, you don't really understand.

How hard it is to you till you do it so there's an awful lot of learning to be done and had to learn it pretty quickly I have about a dozen and a half staff and I know this much is the doing it then people perceive it is one thing that does do is that it makes you focus on what really is important to the business on the Brand and simplification at the time of disruption complexities and actually crucial discipline.

What makes a special what makes us different and then you know with the team and it was very much the team discussions and decisions around.

You know what the two big holes which were really around digital and there was a good consensus across the organisation that we had to really accelerated digital and also be confident about pricing whether it online or in print that the ft is valuable value information is quality journalism and worth paying for and if you boiled down all of the complexities of strategy of what's going on in the world, but so probably to clear beliefs determined most of what we did and I think that simplification and focus was one of the reasons.

Why we've come through the Strait turbulent period in pretty strong shape last question then at into parts.

What's been the most miserable most challenging day of your career and also what's been the best day new career than 1 million of which are most proud.

You know I think once been so many experiences.

They say something miserable experiences.

50 litre Turkey hard to think I'm Miserable ones, but I think in terms of shock and Pat I don't think I've had many miserable have any miserable experience of the ft, but in terms of shopkins scale? I think 9/11 was something it just comes forward because I can remember very very clearly exactly what happened then just seeing the way obviously awful and tragic that set of circumstances of seen the way the organisation unprecedented came together to do its job incredibly effectively was was deeply memorable and the way that that happened in terms of great and pleasurable experiences.

I think they've generally all there's been so many but they have generally all had a similar characteristic which is being out in the field ideally with a colleague reporting a story that brings to life maybe in a personal way for the people involved a big shift reflects a big trend.

What's going on in a particular one thing that does not bring to mind I think about it is reporting from the field in China doing a piece on the Three Gorges Dam which was being completed and finalize in front of our eyes and travelling with a colleague to interview the villages and there were millions of people there going to be displaced by the creation of this epic infrastructure project that was a symbol of the rise of China huge and its ambition and seeing both the scale of entry lamberson and the reality of Chinese transformation, but also what it meant for Ordinary People which was really difficult they were having to move you houses villages have been flooded completely him but underwater by the so is other examples you know being in Indonesia with a colleague in the Revolution there and so hot I went just seeing seeing history played out in front of you and having a responsibility to report about there so many experiences generally involving working on stories with colleagues that show.

Happiness at the ringside view of history and too many of those to mention we could be here all day.

We certainly could jump out of metaphorical tea at that was an incredibly interesting conversation if I didn't credibly interesting career frankly.

Thank you for your time.

Thank you very much in association with big things.


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