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FT news editor: 'We made a concerted effort to try and have a role in the #MeToo movement'

FT

Financial Times news editor Peter Spiegel has pinned the newspaper’s News Provider of the Year award win on its coverage of the #MeToo movement.

The paper picked up the top prize at last night’s British Journalism Awards after three wins earlier in the night:

  • Journalist Laura Hughes nabbed the Political Journalism award for her coverage of sexual harassment in Westminster
  • Reporter Matthew Garrahan bagged the Arts and Entertainment Journalism trophy for his stories on the Harvey Weinstein Scandal
  • And the FT’s The Uber Game took the Innovation of the Year prize.

FT accounting and tax correspondent Madison Marriage was also shortlisted for three prizes for her exposé on the Presidents Club, which Spiegel described as his high point of the year.

Speaking to Press Gazette about how it felt to be awarded News Provider of the Year, Spiegel said: “We made a very concerted effort to try and have a role in the ‘Me Too’ movement.

“We felt that this was a story that was too big for us to ignore and two of the awards we won tonight were for our Weinstein coverage and our story on sexual harassment in Westminster.

“Both were on ‘Me Too’ as well as Madison Marriage, who didn’t win tonight, on the Presidents Club.

“I think we deserve the award because of those three stories.”

Speaking about the FT’s high points this year, Spiegel claimed traffic “went through the roof” when it broke the Presidents Club scandal.

He added: “We have seen huge increases in subscribers – 25 per cent since Brexit happened – and that just goes to show the quality of the journalism honoured here tonight.

“People are paying for it and they’re willing to subscribe, so it’s very rewarding.”

Asked what he believed separated the FT from the rest of the UK press, the former LA Times man pointed to the paper’s efforts to hire “great reporters” from around the world.

He also gave credit to Japanese media giant Nikkei, which bought FT Group from previous owners Pearson in 2015 for £844m.

He said: “I must say – and I know this is going to sound like propaganda – but we’ve been owned the last three years by Nikkei, which we were really nervous about when they acquired us.

“But they’ve not only left us alone – they’ve invested in our journalism. We’re very, very happy to have owners who back our work.”

He also praised his boss, FT editor Lionel Barber, for being a “great supporter” of the news team’s global, UK and #MeToo coverage.

On the paper’s plans for the future, Spiegel said he wanted to do more reporting on how “mainstream political elites” can “deliver results” for working-class communities in the US and UK following past failures.

“One of the things that we’ve seen over the last 18 months to two years, is our readership – which is, to be honest, the global elite – has had a very bad go of it the last two years, and not for all the wrong reasons,” he said.

“Both Trump in the US and Corbyn here in the UK are successful as politicians for a reason. It has a lot to do with what both corporations and governments have done for globalisation.

“They haven’t supported the working classes both in the US and the UK, and I want to report more on how the mainstream political elites deliver results for those kinds of people.

“That’s important for business and politics, and unless we who write for the global elites reveal the kinds of things that can get this right, I think we are all in trouble because the standard will fall.

“I think the FT has really important role to play in informing the global elite about policies for the left-behind in the US, the UK and Europe.”

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