The Financial Times is changing its "brilliant improvisation" method of running a global network of correspondents, stringers and super-stringers after "a ground-up look at achieving the right balance" for the newspaper, according to new editor Andrew Gowers.
He has scrapped the foreign desk and the post of foreign editor and appointed world news editor Hugh Carnegy as deputy managing editor with the primary responsibility of managing and developing the network.
With foreign editor Will Dawkins becoming publishing editor, Gowers has taken the opportunity to review the traditional foreign desk setup.
There are now three editions in the UK, Europe and the US, with a fourth, in Asia, on the way shortly, and the international correspondent network will serve them all.
Then there is the centre of the newspaper which for Gowers is represented by news, features and financial desks and the managing editor’s department. "What I wanted to do was to create the right balance between the centre and the regions," Gowers explained.
There will be two key roles – that of news editor Will Lewis, who will focus on the whole world with the world newsdesk reporting to him, and Carnegy’s charge, to make sure there is the right degree of mobility around the paper between London and other parts and between editions.
Within its overseas regional editions, the FT has separate timed editions and there are four separate UK editions.
"I am trying to convey the complexity of running a newspaper that is both a UK national, a European and an American newspaper and is truly global," Gowers said. "What’s happened over the years is that it has done very well but has developed by a process of brilliant improvisation. My goal, coming in with a fresh pair of eyes, is to say we have probably reached the limit of what we can do by improvisation and let’s have a look at what we can do from the ground up.
"We need to devote even more attention to making sure our people have the right career development and training. These are the unseen investments that deliver huge dividends over time." Gowers can also foresee "dis-benefits" of not looking after his people centrally. "You run the danger of having islets, people thinking they don’t work for the FT as a global organisation but for the US part for example, which over time could be quite damaging to our global approach."
Carnegy, who joined the FT in 1985, has been financial news editor, international news editor and deputy features editor. He is currently looking after the terror crisis coverage.
By Jean Morgan