FT-owned The Banker magazine has first female editor in 95-year history

The FT’s The Banker magazine has appointed its first female editor in its 95-year history, who said issues relating to diversity would be an “area of focus” for her time at the helm.

Joy Macknight has succeeded Brian Caplen who retired at the end of the year after 18 years in the role.

The Banker’s team of journalists has a 50/50 gender split but the issue is an increasing one for the monthly magazine to cover as the financial sector lags behind.

The Financial Conduct Authority said in 2019 that about 17% of FCA-approved financial services positions were filled by women and that this had remained largely unchanged since 2005.

Macknight told Press Gazette: “I’ve been covering financial journalism for about 15 years and over the last, let’s say five or so years, you’ve seen a lot of young women coming in as reporters and moving up, obviously into editor positions as well. So I think the transformation is already happening within the journalists’ perspective.

“But then we’re also seeing it much more in terms of the focus that the banks are placing on gender diversity and other diversity metrics as well.”

Of being the first female editor, Macknight added: “Sometimes you think ‘okay here we are in 2021 and we’re still seeing these announcements and things’, but obviously this is also a) a great opportunity for me so I am celebrating it, but b) I think as we move forward there will be less and less of these as such a big deal.

“Obviously I cover the banking industry and you’re seeing the same kind of announcements coming through, so it’s great that it’s happening but sometimes it does feel a little bit shocking – maybe not so much my announcement but when you think of Jane Fraser’s the first woman that’s going to head up Citi bank you just think it’s a long time coming – but I’m glad it is coming.”

Macknight, who joined The Banker in 2015 as transaction banking and technology editor and was later promoted to deputy editor and managing editor, said improving diversity of all types drives “better business decisions and better coverage” and is no longer seen as just a “nice to have”.

“From a journalist’s perspective you have a greater understanding of a diverse readership as well and you can tailor things more to them,” she added.

The Banker, deemed one of FT Global’s “most prominent and successful publications”, has a controlled circulation of about 28,000. Across print and digital, the brand reaches a global readership of just over 100,000 each month.

It brings in revenue through website subscriptions, advertising, sponsored video projects, awards, and live events (which like many others went virtual last year).

Macknight said it had been a “tough” year because of the pandemic but that The Banker’s team is used to working remotely as they travel a lot.

She agreed with FT editor Roula Khalaf on the thing she misses the most, recalling the “creative process that you get when you’re sitting in the same room”.

[Read more: FT editor Roula Khalaf warns against long-term switch to remote working for journalists]

“It just happens more organically when you’re face to face,” she said.

Macknight, previously features editor at Profit & Loss and editorial director of Treasury Today, said The Banker had done “really well” compared to some other trade publications as it had been able to avoid some of the same pressures.

But she said it does need to expand its digital offering, including through podcasts and newsletters, and blend the print and online packages more closely.

“In addition to that I think we’ll be looking at extending our coverage of areas that are of great interest to the banking community – ESG [environmental, social and corporate governance] is incredibly hot this year, fintech has been for a long time, but also the digital transformation of the industry as a whole,” she said.

Picture: FT

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