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Q&A: Lyndsey Jones, executive editor at the Financial Times on what you will need to succeed in the newsroom of the 2020

Submitted by on September 30, 2019 – 4:21 pm | 337 views

As we are entering a new decade, our next Newsrewired conference will explore what skills journalists need to succeed in their careers and help their newsrooms thrive.

We caught up with our speaker Lyndsey Jones to find out more about how the Financial Times is preparing its reporters for the newsroom of the 2020s.

Jones is executive editor and section chief of day production at the Financial Times in London. She has played a leading role in the digital transformation of the FT, streamlining editorial operations and reshaping the newsroom to focus on digital-first publishing, while taking a more disciplined and simplified approach to the print editions.

She has not only led successful mergers of teams, delivering changes to working practices to maintain the gold standard of FT journalism but also as the architect of the FT’s global broadcast schedule, devised and implemented a targeted approach to online publication to help drive traffic and engagement.

Tell us what your day-to-day role is at The Financial Times

I manage a large team of production journalists who produce the newspaper and publish content online. I also lead and manage digital transformation projects in editorial.

You are speaking on a panel discussing ‘What skills will journalists need in 2020?’. What trends do you see emerging that will change the way journalists work?

We are seeing a move towards more data-driven journalism so journalists need to be comfortable finding stories in data. They will also need to be multi-skilled. For example, they will not only need write well for print and online but also be able to record a piece for video or audio and present at conferences and other live events, sometimes in a foreign language.

How have you trained The Financial Times reporters to equip them with these skills?

The FT recognised early on the training needs that digital transformation would demand and we now have a four-strong training team headed by a director of editorial talent. We have looked at the best way to deliver training and run a mix of on-site and off-site courses that run for either a whole day or just a lunch hour. We also run internal masterclasses by senior journalists for junior journalists and these cover a range of topics from how to do fast charts and use statistical techniques to mobile photography for journalists and editing under pressure.

How have these changes been met by your staff?

It can be challenging to convince busy journalists to take time away from the news desk – even just for an hour. But time spent away from the news environment to consider new ways of working or improving skills is invaluable and it helps to develop careers. This is key at the FT where people move jobs internally every four years or so. The type of roles has expanded too so your career path could start in print but end up taking you to video, newsletters, and broadcasting on podcast shows. Training is key to helping colleagues succeed in this environment.

What do you want our Newsrewired delegates to come away with from your panel?

Practical tips on how to navigate and succeed in an industry that is going through a digital revolution.

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