Read this: Media Masters - Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson
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Media Masters with Paul Blanchard welcome to media Masters a series of one-to-one interviews with people at the top of the media game am here in New York and John by Andrew edgecliffe-johnson us business editor of the Financial Times in his 21 years with the ft on both sides of the Atlantic he is covered a range of editorial and reporting roles including its management feature section and the influential Lex column.
He spent eight years as their global Media editor bleeding coverage of the music and movie business digital media and marketing and you also serves as the FTSE us news editor growing its impact in video audio social media and data journalism.
He regularly appears as a business commentator on television podcast and radio Andrew thank you for joining me pranks for having me Square pleasure have known me for quite sometime now to be trying to get you one for awhile.
It's a fine Booth you have here is an honour to be sitting in it and you bring good news.
Don't you because the ft is just recently hit a million subscribers congratulations.
Why are we having a bit of a moment here? We just went through.
Million page readers and I'm old enough and I've been around that they have took long enough to know when we went through half a million subscribers.
Not was a big deal.
I remember the CEO at the time coming into the New York office with buckets of pink champagne and I think of the time Pearson we're going to have to them own de Champagne House which was very very good synergy with a financial newspaper, but sadly we got rid of that, but it's fairly remarkable to me having seen well.
We've come from to see that change not just to go from half a million to a million but to see the mix go to 75 to 80% digital subscribers vs.
Prank so we have a healthy profitable product which is still very important for some very important people so we still want to produce a great print newspaper, but we don't really define ourselves as a newspaper any more more and more this feels like a news organisation that has blue and yes, I mean I think we're very much shouldn't use organiser.
I don't think we're splashing the ft.
Brandon coffee mugs just for the hell of it or T-shirts do you know I think we know the core of what we do and I think that sense of having a call.
Just been very important to that ability to grow the way we have and we've been through all sorts of different business models different experiments with digital pricing and digital models over that.
Which we can go into if you like my in more detail but so it's not like we woke up one day with the perfect formula from day one but I think we've hit on model which feels like a cookie was going for a longer time.
I think 131 years old this year.
We've had another nice landmark.
Within the last few days.
We've just gone back into our old headquarters in the city of London kilbracken house which we left in the 1980s to move to Southwark Bridge sound through and it's been completely remodeled.
Mrs great modern Newsroom now for a digital news organization, but it's quite a sensitive coming home of achievement and it's interesting reminder of some of that history of what's still relevant from that history to what we do today in Delhi from Wall Street the centre of the financial universe is not the centre of the actual universe that was being incredible, but I remember when I first moved here 20 years ago from London I felt it free on top of the global news story from London London's a wonderful global hub for news, but when I first moved here inside reporting on the big consumer brands of America which is my beat at the time.
It struck me that everything had an extra 0 on the end.
Just the scale of business in this country is extraordinary compared to anywhere else you can cover business journalism, so that does give you a thrill.
I think one of the interesting things for me as I never really started out wanting to be a business journalists.
I was interesting all sorts of general news political news features and stuff out.
What's been interesting to me.
Is how much business news has become political news if you look at the agenda now global politics its trade it's about currencies.
It's about the way business interacts with with policymaking with regulation of things are so I can more and more and my day is actually spent covering that intersection between business and politics.
I don't see all Street in isolation now from Washington or from London it is about the connective tissue between those different stories all we had Matt Murray sitting in that buy jelly editing to the Wall Street Journal and he's always been of the view that business news is is people use it it is news isn't it? I think that's part of the art of good financial journalism is not think of it as its own language.
I studied foreign languages as a as a student in college, and I said a French Italian knew nothing about economics about finances.
You could think it's a terrible training.
For writing about Wall Street about business spell device not hyper training in which we look at it one of the things that struck me early in my career was money is just another language and large segments of people engaged in the financial world.
Just speak that language and make no affords try and translate it to the people who it affects and so I think as a financial journalist who played quite an important role in pain that translator in trying to not just translate business Concepts and convoluted financial issues for a general audience and Horrell duties of pretty Brightwell plugged in general audience, but many times they specialist in one thing and not specialist in the very thing you're right about that day as I do still have to make it accessible to and intelligent broad reader, but it is also a task.
I think increasingly flask in translating back to the financial world what the real world what the wider world thinks about that im actually spending a little bit more time on at the moment trying to think about how do we?
Slick back to business, how business is perceived in the wider world because I think we talked a lot about bubbles in media about bubbles on my left, but was on the right filter bubbles for different issues different tribes, but I think there is a copper bottle as well and part of the Royal we can play cut to the place.
I can Financial Times is to break through that bubble and help companies understand the audience is there a going to matter to them? How do you get your news? How do you keep abreast of what's happening when you get your stories from because the end of the US is is huge to two significant understate the matter and you've got you must have hundreds of potential source of news.
How do you choose your must have a tonne of like chief executives and corporate PR always trying to picture stuff.
I mean you must be inundated.
There's a lot of incoming and there's definitely the Peele Community has grown dramatically in the time that I've been a journalist something the statistic now.
Is there a 6PR people for every single journalist, so if you take that at its crude is level that means of 6 people every day trying.
Get me to write something and that's not necessarily best use of my time for an F to your audience know a lot of good ideas to come in from the pr.
Community week filter and filter and filter to only pay attention to the best of them.
It's pretty shocking how many terrible ideas and get Halloween ideas can be a huge time waster as well, but I think I'm always trying to strike a balance between being receptive to ideas from the corporate world free of making sure about meeting new sources keeping up with all sources and information about 25 years and so you to keep running into people you haven't seen for 5 10 15 20 years and it's important to keep some of those connections woman a lot of good stories to come from the trust.
You've built up in previous jobs in previous periods of covering individual companies and and and Cooper individuals, but I also try to keep one eye on.
Trend lines on the patterns, I'm seeing emerging from different pieces of news that are just popping up left and right so I do keep in the flow of everything from Twitter feeds to what's on at home page of ft.com today.
Just to be thinking about how is what I'm seeing relevant your what patterns are emerging what colours can we make about bigger theme starting to form and that is often where the better stories come from now.
What is a typical week for you? How do you divide your time? I would love to say that I've cracked time management.
I really haven't but I think we could tell me for the next 20 weeks.
How to do that if you have now if I knew I think one principle I tried to stick to his to keep some time for setting our own agenda.
It is very very easy in at the age of Twitter the age of.
Endless emails sent the email becoming your inbox to just be reactive to just be jumping every time and you said to see something flash up as a headline on prices are on Twitter you really have to have some sense of what you actually wanted to do with your day with your week with the next month and I when I was using to use to talk to reporters about thinking of their coverage in five speeds, so the first speed is breaking news and we have a cervical past ft.
Which is where we put up as initial flashes those first two three four paragraphs.
We don't try to beat the news wires to the millisecond, but when big news happens the fed cuts rates or a takeover Is Announced or a major political get out of this all comes out for elections going to move markets, then we need to be fast and we need to add a little of the context but by the time we got two three four five paragraphs with push that out and that just gives people the very first draught.
History II speed is when you fill it out into a full-blown news story and you call a CEO you speak to three or four commentators on whatever story and maybe you make sure you've read all the pages of the press release in the earnings statement and things like that in the balance sheet and I knew put down your final verdict on what this news me.
It's and that's yep typically, what's 20 years ago? Would have been on the front page of tomorrow's papers now.
That's up on my home page within a matter of minutes and then there's the third speed which again is a race of traditional familiar newspaper mode of where does historical next sofa.
The news has been announced.
We need two profiles, so what's the big question hangover this deal from regulators? Will it happen? What are unions make of this particular development war of the political ramifications going to be how does this play out on the other side of the world where we may have correspondence of people don't thinking about the obvious next step in a rolling story is that?
Search speed IV speed is that agenda-setting sense of ok? I know what the running stories in the beets are I'm on top of those what I really want to cut car valeters the interesting CEO profile.
I've been meaning to do the trend.
I've been seen bubbling up that might be about companies changing their supply chains and relate relation to the pterosaur about what year 2 of tax reform really feels like I'm covering merica those things that would make an interesting make 1000 words story that adjusts the king to do if you're one big good thoughtful piece of the week.
That's the for sweet, but then the most important and away is V speed is the thing that might take a couple of months so really crack.
That's the thing that you might need to book some travel to go off the rails diary of the Long read exactly is the piece of might end up in front of the magazine at the weekend magazine online.
It's going to be that sort of top of the home pay.
For half the day maybe a whole day as art of statement piece of deepdyve original reporting one of those lovely ft.
One of the great things that we've learnt in our transition to bring a digital Newsroom is how well those pieces resonator people do value the breaking news.
They really need to know the breaking news.
Please got a short shelf life.
You know the half-life of an atom United States so and everybody else matters even great eminescu pou company XYZ company why you might be 20 minutes ahead of the competition Leasowes but that's your lucky if you're more than that so people tend to match breaking news for easily.
It's very hard to really distinguish yourself over the long term with just breaking news.
Just snap analysis, but I think were what people really value is where you've devoted journalistic resources and time to do in the hard storage the stories that do take some.
Shoe leather awesome real financial understanding or using the access he had a place like bft to open doors get to the people who want to hear from and just tell stories in a month or for more than narrative way and do you get much time to do that because like you said there's that you've been associated with all the the can onslaught of Museum reacting to breaking news alert getting their fast ft reports out there at you know your job.
Is it also about building contacts and building connections? Yeah? I think they were.
Were you know you're going to be busy out and you know you're on a big running story or its earnings season now.
You've got an election campaign to covering you're gonna be on the road a lot in New Hampshire or something and sometimes you park the pieces that you've been desperate to do the long reads for a few weeks, but you simple thing is to make sure you come back to them when the news flow slows down a little bit and sometimes you chip away at the use for 4 months before you actually sit down and stop writing them.
So it's there's no as I said.
I don't have the perfect model for time management, but I think it's that sense of what are the priority pieces that you would kick yourself if you haven't written in the next 3 months or 6 months or nike.co.
What's the piece? You can look back on at the end of this year that actually made a difference to your reader's where you actually said something original that they will remember that in print terms a trip the page out of the paper and to show their colleague on it in digital terms.
They share the social media email to their entire network are the piece of lizard.
You've got a read this and as us business editor clearly being based in Manhattan and on Wall Street is is physically important, but how often do you get around the 50 states? Have your how often to get to Little Rock Arkansas or Alaska or Hawaii Seattle in Seattle I do try to use the ft travel budget responsibly Arsenal what enzyme that looks after your expenses.
Fiscally responsible an editorial as well as commercial but one of the things I realised when I was news entered during the 2016/2017.
Through the brexit story through the US election was that the stories we dressing where we got out of Washington but we got out of New York we got our California where we got out of London to cover the brexit story were often the most revealing about how the results turned out.
So they were the ones that shows where the passion balls were the mood was in the country and that's not to say that I believe that we live in a simplistic bubble because actually as a journalist in I even as a any resident of a place like Manhattan you are exposed to all sorts of Cultures all sorts of ideas.
Is there a bubble in my life is bigger than a bubble and your people living in a small rural community, but yeah, I found through my own reporting every time.
I get on a plane everytime I get my car.
I leave the familiar surroundings of Manhattan all the city of London I learnt something then I to get a prospective that's different it doesn't mean that the perspective I live with is invalid and but one of the things that I've come to realise from an FT perspective is that most of our audience lives in the big global cities and there may not be a man having a baby in Mumbai there, may be in London or they may be a little bit but there is a lot of commonality between those major successful growing economically vibrant cities.
They all are connected by business class travel VAT goes to st.
They're all on the same circuit it when you go as I did that 18 months ago to bowling green Kentucky and you ask people love what they think of Germans like me who live in Manhattan the answer you get off his what you guys are all the
And cocktail parties and there is some truth to that so I have tried to shift my time to spell a little bit more time on the road and inevitably many the people go and CRM pretty big cities are there in Seattle or anywhere in Chicago order in Nashville and Austin increasingly as you see populations move to this was second tier citizen place like Denver a relief thriving Detroit has a really interesting growth story but the value of that for our audiences.
They don't get to the second tier cities so often they all know what people say and thinking and Hong Kong any up in San Francisco in London in Paris and Frankfurt but they don't know sorry know what people saying in Denver let alone in Kentucky so I think I've always tried to spend a bit of my time.
Just making sure that we are telling their stories as a service to our readers.
Heading for instability and potentially another financial meltdown, I don't meet a lot of ceo's a lot of big investors who feel that financial meltdown is a moment.
I think they all feel that we are living through instability already and I think you have to balance two things if you look at the markets are the Towers still 20 + percent above where it was during the 2016 US election with its absorbed extraordinary punches if You Like Apes extraordinary blows to the consensus your way in which business politics happened in previous administration said it.
Oh yeah, you could say that UK sterling spoon get it reset dramatically and I'll with the brexit vote but it can't stop roughly around sound level so often the single and we get from markets and from the people most involved in them is quite calm they've taken a lot of this stuff in their stride.
I think the people who have cancer.
And I can send for the reason that we are now more prone to accidents than we were before what that accident might look like whether it's some sort of conflagration some kind of financial reset some kind of more violent conflict.
I don't think anybody it's really predicting at the moment and we have weathered a period of fairly extraordinary politics fairly, Lee from a financial point of view right now Copa America is making record profits for the stocks are still very close to record highs Aided by by BACS which have been Aided by tax reform but there is not a sense that the party is about to end in the corporate world right now.
I think what's interesting is to make sure you're paying attention to the voices who are saying this doesn't feel sustainable to us that there is something wrong with the model that is not paying survey.
Attention to the people on the wrong side of the income inequality divide that's not paying sufficient attention to the externalities as they call it in awful.
Jargon your impact on the planet and things like that.
So there is a group of people in the business world that feeling pretty good about the way things are right now.
I know there's a group of people outside the tent who are trying to tell the business world, but this isn't good enough we with Global chief.
Executives around the world and a few of them even though he would never admit it publicly our closet trump supporters Unigate there regarding is a loathsome human being on her on a personal level of bullying misogynist horrendous person, but they can't deny that he's been good for the US economy whether that's correlation or causation unemployment at its lowest employment at its.
How's the Simpson be resurgent very brilliant very confident us economy to what extent do you credit trump with that? Well? I think you have.
An interesting phenomenon with US President where he's an anti establishment candidate and the people were talking about ceo's bigger vs.
Are the establishment at the same time they've been nursing grievances about China's behaviour on the world stage for many many years now.
They may find his methods in conducting the trade war brash sharp elbowed, may be more prone to accidents than they would like to see but many of them do quietly support the ends of actually Walkers seeing quite a lot of support from the cos.
We meet for this idea that China should push to open up its markets more.
They have all run into China over the last several decades and very few of them have made the money they hope to when it opened up to Global trade in the first place, so there is quite a lot of support for that.
I think you hear on the domestic front different views from the corporate world on the way Republican tax reform.
Went through Congress I think for most companies that lead to a windfall for most of that allowed them to spend money on investment on some some pay rises for some stuff, but mostly on higher shareholder Returns which has boosted the wider market which is fed through into a consumer confidence and things like that so I think they feel most of them at their riding on a helpful wave from that.
I don't think they feel that the tax code has been fundamentally reformed.
I don't think that the issues people have with the poles and with different soups with a sheer complexity of Us attacks have been addressed for all of them, but I think they're not unhappy most of them to have had that boost.
I think where there is friction is on the social stuff them of cultural stuff.
Yeah, we've observed house is particularly in this country become more and more activist insp.
the odds on everything from gun violence to lgbtq rights to also quite quite difficult partisan polarizing issues, are there are often pushed in that direction by their own employees and by the consumers so brands like Nike deciding to back Colin Kaepernick get incredibly thorny issue of Race in this country and brands taking stand on immigration during discussions of Muslim bands are in this country that took a little bit of courage from any cos it was quite unexpected compared to what we've seen from the SEO community in previous decades, but I think it's quite consistent with the pattern were business has become more Smallville liberal on social issues at a time where we have a presence in the White House who has gone in a different Direction
I meant yeah, because you've been reporting on how capitalism itself is had to change and fend off frankly a resurgent us left.
Yeah, this is really got ceo's attention the riser first Bernie Sanders Elizabeth Warren and now Alexandria ocasio-cortez aoc with incredible social media prowess and with real a real ability to capture the broader media through that has scared quite a lot of cos I used to be a convention really that seals would remain mute on those kind of issues and now that's not the case at all like you said earlier there on staff stakeholders there and customers are calling on them to to be involved in having a pinion.
Yes and to be fair.
They were often exercising their political speech through donations and through work through the lobby groups and so far but often but now we are increasingly seeing she is expected to take a personal stand on it.
I think what's been interesting to me particularly this year has been.
This rising concern that there is something afoot with capitalism that will need to be addressed and you've heard from people like Ray dalio huge investor people like Jamie Dimon chairman CEO JP Morgan Chase that it's time for the capitalist to look in the mirror and understand why the system that they've done so well from and which these seals are still very much defending needs to reform if it's not going to be challenged and maybe even torn down and I think they're nobody has he really feel that capitalism is on its last legs is pretty small but there is a growing group of cos I speak to a major investors who really feel that if capitalist don't pay attention to the concerns of pic on the left and also people on the right who just feel that the current corporate cysts.
Is a crony capitalist system know that big companies big banks big automakers got bailouts and that's not true capitalism in the eyes of many people on the right eye that so this isn't just a simple question of feeling under attack from all that but I do speak to a great number of people who feel that capitalism doesn't reform itself.
It's going to be reform from the outside in a way that they don't like there is a sense that the pitchforks are coming and that if they don't have an answer if I don't start to address some of the ways in which capitalism seems to have skewed outcomes particularly around income inequality then.
I'll be trouble it seems that the whole way of employing people.
I'm being an employee is changing now with the gig economy that mean it's quite normal hearing America Tab 2 or even 3 jobs, but you'll see it there for example with uber and deliveroo coming on depression in London to define what it is to be an employee.
Are you a self-employed food delivery person on a bike or a
You entitled to in a benefits and holiday pay and sick pay I think this goes to a broader question about the disparity between the wealth of a few very large companies and a small group of people who run those companies and the people at the bottom of their org chart, and I think we see journalist with the activist Wheatsheaf shareholders pay more attention to that disparity and to the way in which companies who are doing the best are treating the people in and around that companies who are not so simple things like see you as having to disclose now then multiple at the how they pay compares to the median employees so what the CEO pay multiple is and that's gone up to 300 + x if you look across the US corporate world.
I mean that clearly sounds grotesque when you say it like that really.
Maybe because it is now many see as many pick investors say I look at the value.
We've created turns one of the recent examples was Bob iger Disney who has come under fire from Abigail Disney the great-granddaughter of one of the co-founders of that company who has said that his pay multiple is grotesque at the same time you look at Walt Disney stock has done in that.
You look at what it's only have done within days of her coming out and saying that I think are Avengers endgame and 1.2 billion dollars at the box office so how much that 1.2 billion dollars does baba Yaga deserve he bought the Marvel franchise for Disney he's made it work incredibly well.
I think his spare was 61 million or something last year.
There are two different ways of looking at this and I think traditionally the corporate world there with the people who sit on balls that people advise board investors increasingly have said well.
Good old bottle the value of Disney's gone up and up and up.
He should have
A piece of that is critical to the value the company but I think many of the people working business parks Malaga people going to Disney Sparks think that's a lot of money.
How does that the how can I possibly be just fine? I think the disparity is particularly visible when you look at how it's changed over time so I think the multiple in the 60s was about 30 exercise motorbike 300X it has been a dramatic shift in CEO pay, but I personally rather amused by the state because my very first from page splash for a national newspaper when I went to the Daily Telegraph at the tender age of 24 was about the outrageous news that the boss of a private eyes utility company Manweb Hood under million-pound at the time Gordon Brown was sending opposition was starting to go on the offensive about CEO pay, and it was very politically hot Topic I was a junior in the Telecom Telegraph
Software Centre around the country to go off to head offices to look at the documents.
I had to file before annual meetings before they would be published online which I won't be available were probably in 1994 and I found this document are saying that the ceo's pay.
It gone up dramatically and across the million pounds and that became a front page story now pounds for a CEO now feels really rather quaint so we have reset our expectations and I think the corporate world has slightly ignored how those numbers look to the non corporate world you talking about you have the potential for Accidents and events earlier than and when you mentioned Abigail Disney just then it struck me that you're not gone are the days when chief executives could relax and think well, the only thing that might go wrong is a regulator might chastises, Wigan Challenge lioncourt and I'll eat anything just be good Abigail Disney's just a person with the Disney surname.
That's on social media.
She puts out a series of 80.
Man tweets in a row Now read them all and of course it then goes viral and causes a huge issue, so you there's a lot more variables lot of factors to consider now if you're a leader in business, but things can go wrong in all kinds of ways you'll have to look at United Airlines it security guard punched some guy in the face and drag him off a plane and then because the the CEO mishandled it on the United playing at a billion dollars of their stock market values wiped off the next day.
I think companies struggle with this enormously.
Yeah, I end up writing about crisis companies in Crisis on a pretty regular basis at the moment were obviously writing a lot about Boeing and every time I sit down to call people up about how companies should manage its way through a crisis sooner or later somebody references Johnson and Johnson the way I handled the recall of painted Thailand old bottles in the 70s in this country which is seen as the great case study of how to do it.
They very quickly withdrew these the product from.
Also communicated beautifully with the public to reassure them.
They took every step to make sure that when the product came back into circulation people have confidence in a maceo was visible in things like that, but if you think about it the 7th for a long time ago did have some better case studies by now, but we've been through Toyota and Goldman Sachs and BP deepwater Horizon and Wells Fargo and Time After Time After Time crisis happens even with 6PR to every journalist it seems as though companies frozen in the headlights and I think that tells you something about a culture in the business world which is increasingly isolated.
I do see a corporate model and I see that that are marine of Communications professionals with respect to hurry up cos of surroundings surroundings selves with too often are there to protect the CEO and the board from any inconvenience thoughts?
Your friend telling them how the outer world's release sees them and so when something comes up like Abigail Disney saying 61 million dollars is an awful lot of money for a guy who employs a lot of people in Disney's theme parks for running a very small fraction of that then it seems to come as a bit of a shock to people who only ever considered it in the light elf.
It's not a lot of money if you want 1.2 billion dollars in a weekend from one film but like you said you're not sure at the one of the Disney parks that gives a lot of them have to sleep in their cars.
I read an article about some we went undercover a Disney park.
You know when you actually take into account all the things they have to pay until recently that appear to launder their own costumes italiana had to borrow underwear as well.
That was another thing I remember from the article as well.
It's interesting that you cite an article because I have increasingly comfortable leave that those stories where those early Warning stories like when the la Times first pregnant.
Is about Wells Fargo weirdly opening accounts for people that they hadn't asked to be over for that was the moment with the board should have really jumped on a problem agreed.
Maybe a year or two for that is really mushroom into a crisis, but I think one of the functions journalism pay who plays business journalism plays is to tell companies.
There's a problem brewing and it may look like a small problem at the moment, but if companies don't address that they can very very easily become a big problem and so I think part of our job is to look for the grit in the Oyster it's to pay a little bit more attention.
Maybe then we did before the financial crisis before the last few years to where is the discontent and are these companies moving quickly to address it go to understand how their seen by the worst critics and they may decide that their worst critics have no valid point at all, but they probably.
Should still be able to express and communicate why they think that and I think all too often they're not even asking the question and I just blocking it out and until the point when I can no longer blocking out and it's all over Twitter it's all over Facebook It's All Over the evening News and I got a problem it will we get a left wing anti wealth creation Democrat taking on trump did a left-handed up when I think at this point in the 2016 election the expectation was that Jeb Bush trump, Hillary Clinton or walk-ins, so I'm not going to make any Balls called at all.
I think of you talk to the corporate community.
I was just at the milk and Conference which was €4,000 investors and other corporate financial elites and it was an extraordinary consensus there that the president President Trump had a very good chance pre-election if the economy as they done anything like it's current path and there wasn't a major market.
Downtown if the trade war didn't please an accident so I am not going to make a bold prediction what I will say for my journalistic point of view is what you will be learning the lessons from 4 years ago.
Will you will be listening for the signal from outside Washington from Beyond the pole trackers which way are readers love which wheel of which work brilliantly but which have not been a reliable guide to every outcome in every election in the last several years however good though the data Science becomes so one of the lessons that I took from 2016 was that the anecdotal journalism we did when we got out of town.
We went to talk to people in Little Rock Arkansas about what was on their mind was often far more valuable than hearing.
What was on the imf's mind or the feds mind or the CEO of Goldman Sachs or JP Morgan smartcric.
Our readers know that already and we are quite an institutional place, so we cover the big institutions of the world our readers need us to do that.
They need to know when the IMF changes its Outlook on the US economy, but where we can really add value is by making sure that with mixing with in without a more anecdotal more human voice from outside the world that they have daily access to do you think that the us and the UK government and government general in regulators.
Will take on the big tech companies that have grown into such huge global monopolies.
I mean if you think of Amazon PayPal airbnb uber Google and so on at that.
There's a sense of that.
They're almost bigger and more in being her mind pack full of mine fluential Mariam Aslam government Ireland when Huber with having their it was noted that their licence in London to operate was going to be taken away someone and TFL on the BBC news that are you no work with we take on.
With a little bit of foreboding because they're so cute another wow.
That is literally London Government being scared of her have an apple company said it just seems to me that that there's this seems to be such a huge power balance now.
I think things have changed already dramatically if you remember 10 years ago the way politicians would fall over Google and Facebook and hoover when it started and the the love of innovation for any politician is is pretty obvious.
He's a job creators.
It's a sign that you can be a great near gleaming techhub that you can spawn success stories that attract enormous amounts of capital and often creates employment in the process.
So there was a fairly natural gravitation that politicians on both sides the Atlantic towards these companies decade ago that is really chilled you are not seeing people ask for selfies with Mark Zuckerberg in Washington right now.
You're seeing them inviting him to hearing was that he may or may not show up to.
At the same time that these companies become totally interwoven into I personalise on our governments lives Amazon is provides enormous services for government agencies in the US Google is embedded into all sorts of things the government does now.
I see a real momentum to get some sort of antitrust action going on the Democratic side in the US I thinking in the UK with already seen intra very interesting digital regulation in Europe generally has their the way on digital privacy regulation? I think that is one area, where can I see quite meaningful movement on in the us as well and Swan area businesses not unhappy to see movement Thomas the sense that there they do need to self-regulate Somerset or at least go along with some regulation that can agree to that for fear of facing something.
They couldn't agree to question.
How many vouchers are going to the polls in November
20/20 with Facebook market cap in mind I'm ultimately not quite sure that this has the resonance of an issue like Healthcare or immigration or the economy.
I think antitrust policy is something that you could see the next president address for the 2021 or 2025 in the early years administration.
They have political capital to do it.
I'm not sure it's an obvious get out the votes type rallying cries many people is looking at some figures only today and morning consult poll on millennials favourite brands and their text Google it's YouTube is Netflix it is it's the banks.
It's Amazon people use the stuff every day every minute of the day and mostly they still see it as more cool and creepy Wall Street and your brakes.
What's your view on brexit Britain from your vantage.
Do we appeared even more hopelessly divided when you look at us.
I'm here then when you're there.
I've not been unhappy to be hiding out in New York while the brexit Debate BBC Newsnight is probably good for my morale and being able to forget about the brexit story periodically alarm.
I just soul-destroying isn't it? It's such a intransigent something.
I don't know anyone that's changed their mind on brexit ever since day one on on either side of the Debate and everyone just seems to be increasingly not wanting to listen to the other side and using words like betrayal and traitor yeah, but I think it's very alarming potentially and this is not what you would you like to see in a mature democracy, but I think from a US business perspective we saw very Swift action by the financial services firms to try and understand with me in for the big staffs in Canary Wharf and in the city of London who would they need to move where were they?
Need to move them, would it be Amsterdam Paris Frankfurt Ireland most of them made their decisions fairly early in the game now we're seeing a broader Spectrum of businesses wake up to the risk of a Hard brexit With No Deal brexit and what that means their supply chains.
I do just in the last few months Seymour ceo's of American companies talking about this fretting about it most of them filled up be manageable for them, but there is a general dismay about the process.
There is a general puzzlement that Britain has been so tortured by this process for so long and I think it's become much easier for companies to argue against an investment in Britain than it has to argue for no that's not a huge tragedy as to Brixton New York that's that's obviously bad for a country at the same time business is very.
Focused on the bottom line Stirling it's cheaper that was if it was to get cheaper in a hard exit from the EU you may well Seymour capital of come into the the UK to buy things on the cheap.
So there will definitely be with the prospect of the chance for business upside as well the people find opportunities as well as risk in there, but right now.
There is quite a lot of dismay that the risk levels have stayed this high for this long.
You could have the media been for many years and you at the height of can a Rupert Murdoch's influence.
What was you few of them? Well, I remember starting.
Why did my interview to be Media out of the ft is 8 years with me do anything I was 2005/2006.
I rather pompously remember and saying to get a table.
I think everybody spends too much time on immediate beach took her out Rupert Murdoch they're all obsessed with them particularly UK ovarian cysts on the x and tell that
And you sit on top of this enormous sector with new look at where the value is created.
It's on his interesting comes out reuters and Bloomberg and financial publishers academic publishers are professional publishing we should do a bit more on that and then there's the Giants movie Business Centre and Museum business and stuff which going through fascinating digital story I ended up like everybody else writing an enormous amount Rupert Murdoch and there are a couple reasons for that one is that he's just a compelling story and that his family his history his influence of politics on three continents it is compelling the other is that he is a perennial risk taker and he if there's one driving Force in the Murdoch Empire it is to challenge and comments to change release actually to change his own companies to keep keep stirring things up he is a stirrer in many ways.
And if you talk to people who work for a format of money is said to be very very loyal at the same time you there is no question that he has played an enormous role in changing the way politics is discussed in a press and ironing on television chicken in this country are there is been in this sense that that's alongside that that sense of disruption and Innovation is an anything goes culture which trip the company up in around 2011 over the phone hacking scandal, which was on a big stories when I was on that Peter that shows a different side to the company which was there's anything goes culture were maybe wasn't asking the kind of questions.
He should have been about what people were doing maybe he's allowed more a moral culture to flourish in parts of zempire than you might expect.
How does a brand like the ft flourish from have you got a million subscribers already? How do you get to the
Gillian journalist with a job with a solvent employer I'm a natural Optimus example of one of you and I do see a lot of growth potential at a place at the ft and funnily enough despite 8 years of writing obituaries for news organisations when I was Media Router I do still see the path forward for journalism and password for good journalism, because I think one of the things you have to understand if you pull back and look at the history of journalism particularly in this country was that the glory days for a fairly brief.
But you had in this country and amazing model of Monopoly or duopoly newspapers in big cities all over the country.
So you had the Chicago tribune the Philadelphia inquirer in the Baltimore sun of the Boston globe and they all were the only places you could go to advertise your kids by 20.
Want to sell it or a job that you want to fill a local supermarket.
I was a pretty nice model and that brought in profits that allows you to set up the Vietnam Bureau or the Baghdad bureau to send somebody to London to write the Pulitzer winning series that would take a year to research and that's how people's expectations were set of what journalists could do in this country and we had a big retreat from that model and from that staffing level and from that expectation in the last 20 years but at the core.
I think we still have a lot of journalist a lot of news organisations out there.
They are resource-constrained, but if they understand the constraints on their resources and use them to focus their attention and where they can be original and valuable to the audience then.
I think there is a path forward and that's the watchword of the place ibft.
How do we do something everyday? That is original?
And valuable no, it doesn't have to be valuable to everybody out there on the internet.
You're we may not write the greatest review of the last episode of Game of Thrones but we don't necessarily have to be to have to write the smartest piece on central banking 2019 or the definitive piece on the trade war we have to serve our particular audience but the starting point for that is to understand your audience.
This is the great gift that we've been given with digital Technology we can see second by second minute by minute.
Who is Reading what now that doesn't mean that you'll end up commissioning By Numbers painting by numbers.
No you can't just say that kittens story did really well.
That's do another 20 stories on kittens because he made battle Attila credit.
BuzzFeed is one of these organisations that stands up superba UK the kittens, but you stayed for the incredible investigative journalism.
That was always sort of the model in her in an old newspaper, UK
The crossword that you can do on your coffee break and then you saw the Splash that day and you got sucked in and you understood the purpose of that news organisation in in your Civic life, but we have got to a point in the news industry where it's fine.
Of plenty NZ we're all following each other's tails so it one person would write the kittens story in and 7 other people drive the same kitten story and they weren't us are as good as the first kittens story that line the big investigation, but we can't always be trying to copy with annexe.
Guy has done you've got to find your own path.
You've got to be producing work.
That's original that's resonating with your audience.
You've gotta find your ankle your audiences angle on a particular story and increasingly you have to bring the audience in on that process you have to be looking at what they're saying in the comments and you rascal you have to be prompting people have you think we're going off to interview somebody tomorrow?
You wanted to ask if we're writing about Disney today? What are your concerns about Disney our readers and were privileged to have a very well informed very engaged audience at the ft.
But they offer no more about the stories were writing about than the journalist working at work out that days notice credit to the journal as it's just if you pull the collective intelligence of our audience.
That is some pretty impressive collective intelligence incredible resulted rope onto we are Spennymoor more about time think about how do you draw readers into the reporting into the debate in a way that actually helps you get better Janice Mouse at the end is how do you take the problem yours grappling with that that day and invite your reader's to suggest solutions to the tell you what angles? You haven't thought of yet that you should be thinking about that is known for moving.
Its journalists around a very slow so they don't.
Magnet and you've done needed in a variety of roles you done the US Army what would be next for you.
Is it? Is it going to be out of space editor of The ft or Dare I say with Lionel standing down I like it.
Can I mischievously asked you whether you might take that role as you can mischievously ask I can just do this we answer but it's unlikely like I've the great thing about a place.
I P Getty is the variety of routes through that allows you and you end up sitting next to people who've been the accounting correspondent, then they went to East Africa and I probably got shot all over there and then they did your brilliant commentary and then they put in a deep diving Japan or something so DFT has a wonderful international network with so many people around the world.
We still have Euros in every time zone which is a huge value for us and allows us to to tell stories a way that other other people unfortunately can't but it's also about a culture of.
Joining the dots so it's great happy bunny Japan who just coverage plans quotes of people in New York just covering New York but the real magic happens is when you get the joint byline when you get the idea bubbling up from the organ somebody says they are supplying Japan or in West Africa so how do we tell the story of global business not just from Wall Street not just from London but joining all those dots bringing all the resources of a place like the ft together in a way that tells a uniquely original and valuable version of the story of question.
What's been the best.
What's been the most enjoyable story of ever worked on the Old adages.
You're only as good as your last story but the fact the matter is you only really remember.
You're seriously thinking about the next one.
I think in recent times one of the things.
I enjoyed most was after 4 years on the news to ask where I been covering the buildup to the 2020 election the first year of President Trump in the White House
And in that.
Having been Media Router I was paying a lot of attention to this growing narrative of fake news of declining trust in journalism, and when you set an in-use room light, bft that's very very challenging obviously, but it's also fairly puzzling because we know that if a single one of our colleagues made up a single quote a single paragraph zaslona Street series of stories.
They will be hard and if you think back to Jason Blair at the New York Times reporter who was fabricating quotes and stories when he was fat the mill Tyres said I think 5 reporters on the story of re reporting every one of his stories.
They put out some unbelievably long report who's the most ultimate of mea culpa.
It wasn't you so generally professional news organisations.
Have a pretty good record of correcting their mistakes when they make it and there is no business model in providing fake news.
For any news organisation that wants to stay in business, I think the night time still flinches at the memory of Jason plate that they would much rather that never happened together handles.
I think well in the end, but every news on PlayStation Belsize scars of mistakes were made but so sitting in New York in The Newsroom like the ft.
It is really weird to read that 77% of Americans think the journal is makeup venues, how many percent of Americans think that we do it deliberately yeah, that is just so alien from what my experience of journalism has ever beaten and I've been lucky to have to but I think that is true for most professional journalists.
I do not wake up in the morning thinking about making up stories because they would get away with away with it once the minute.
They were found out the Beat their replicated fine.
I was just about to move to my current job and I decided to take a couple weeks off and just go to part of country and been to before Tennessee and Kentucky
To ask people why they didn't trust me and I went round my cra bowling green Kentucky because of the ramba kellyanne Conway surf fake news alternative facts about the bowling green Massacre that had never happened.
I thought we are so cute pig for that, but it also has a really interesting journalism school it still has the local newspaper.
It's got like radio stations.
It's got some fantastic digital-only lower hyperlocal news sites out in the surrounding Counties and I went to see a lot of local journalists as well as just people in in bars people restaurants in people in town square.
What we heard repeatedly was a sense that your wee in The Ship Inn in the media in a place like New York didn't pay much attention to place like Kentucky until things went wrong.
He had two lives at Paragon blue through through or shooting or something and then Anderson Cooper would show up in a black T-shirt loves the only time they ever saw.
So as local news becomes more thinned out people's face to face knowledge of journalists has really helped and I think that a problem for our industry, but the other thing that I took back from that was a sense that people fail IELTS we weren't listening to those Communities and they didn't necessarily expect us to agree with everything that they believe but they expected to be invited into the conversation and they felt that we spent our days telling them a bad news that wasn't necessarily their experience of life and America today though they wanted us to use a platforms more to direct me to what does Solutions word for prom Zoe dealing with a from whether it's Trader whether it's the opioid crisis, so yeah, they felt that are we were to sensational in much what we did this generous, but there was also this sense that we were not listening to them and not particularly interested in their voices and I think.
It's a lesson that's stuck with me.
It was a fantastic trip had a wonderful time and I can recommend bowling green.
I broke my Nashville great part of country to spend some time and I am Andrew why don't you trust me a hacker.
I think it's bad question for not just a journalist to ask and we are very very very low down the trust scale know but I think when you are low on the TrustGo you have two choices.
You can either fooled around and say whilst ridiculous.
Thank you for all the other one should not make my arms were folded deny it and just ignore it and carry on as before you can try and ask yourself.
Why am I not trust it and other things we could be doing that would restore summit trust and that can be the very basics of journalism BA people talk about why this Jones came to my son's football match only got his name on he spelt it wrong so that.
Journalism 101 just get your spelling right.
You know can I being transparent about your reporting? No, can you do you have to use that anonymous sources of somebody you could use it will go on a record your people are suspicious of that sort of thing it's the choices.
You make about the stories you tell and about the voices you include in them.
You are you getting the diversity of Voices around the country from difficult backgrounds gender etc different points of view.
I think journalists should be curious.
It's our job to make sure we are hearing more diverse group of voices, but I think this lesson if it applies to journalism and applies to journalist it applies to business and to see yours as well.
Your business is not Highly Trusted these days.
Cos not Highly Trusted these days.
I think business has a choice.
Are you going to say that's ridiculous.
We're going to carry on as before or you going to invest a little bit of time and effort in understanding.
What are the things that are eroding that trust are there?
Things I can do to try and address on Android mini hugely interesting conversation.
Thank you ever so much for your time.
It's been a pleasure.
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