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October 16, 2013updated 18 Oct 2013 3:58pm

FT says that following shift from print to digital it now employs more journalists than ever before

By Darren Boyle

The shift from print to digital journalism can lead to an increase in editorial staff according to the Financial Times.

Mary Beth Christie, the title's head of operations, said that since going "digital-first", the number or journalists on staff has increase to more that 650.

"That is more editorial staff than during our history."

She was speaking at a Digital Editors Network data conference held at News UK's Wapping HQ.

Christie said journalist must adapt fast noting that in 2003 everyone had a Nokia 6210 mobile phone now few people use Nokias..

"It could happen to us that fast."

She said today 2 million people a day read the FT in print and digital.

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"We now have 100k more digital subscribers than print. About 50 percent of those subscribers are on mobile platforms."

Christie said the FT.com had 340,000 subscribers.

"We are now digital-first and we believe our content is valuable. We had a hard paywall similar to The Times.  Now we have a meter model which provides us with far better data on our subscribers.

"We have a direct relationship with the reader. Even running tea meetings where we sit down with them."

Christie said too many journalists and editors still considered stories in a print context, laying out pages in their heads. She said this had to change and pointed to Fast FT, the news organisation's 24-hour breaking news service.

"We treat our readers with respect, they are not just data points."

Katie Vanneck Smith, chief marketing officer for News UK ,said editorial and marketing had to build a strategic alliance.

She said News UK was not concerned how people were consuming their products as long as they were being paid for.

Vanneck Smith said: "Don't make digital too cheap or it will hit print sales."

She said: "News rarely sells, but we do sell great journalists and comment. News is critical for retention of customers.

"Paid for means we have money to invest in the product, such as Goals and premiership content. We need a lot of new journalists in future.

"We have been able to go directly to our customers and build relationships. We like subscriptions because it is a guaranteed revenue stream."

Vanneck Smith said since The Times went behind a paywall it now has 530,000 daily sales across print and online.

"We are now making more money," she added.

She said news organisations had to think about new ways of generating revenue, such as Times Tutorial, which offers revision guides for children on a £96 a year subscription.

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