MediaFile

Rule Britannia? FT fires warning shot at Apple

The release of a Financial Times app that bypasses Apple’s App Store is a warning shot at the iPad maker’s quest to rule the high seas of digital publishing.

Launched just hours after Apple announced Newsstand, the iPad maker’s destination to access digital versions of mags and rags, FT made clear why it created the app:

“We are determined to make it as accessible as possible for the user,” John Ridding, chief executive of the FT told Reuters. “Readers will be able to get our journalism through whatever device or channel they may choose.”

Of course, that’s in addition to the British daily not having to pay a 30 percent commission for the privilege of having its iOS version appear in Apple’s Newsstand.

Some of the other advantages of FT having its own, HTML5-based app are spelled out nicely by GigaOm’s Bobbie Johnson. First, the app is independent of anybody, ending the possibility that any of its content will be blocked. Second, updates will be automatically performed via the Web and won’t need to go through Apple. Lastly, the app isn’t OS specific, so there’s no need for readers to download separate apps for different devices and publishers like the FT won’t need to pour money into developing separate apps.

from Sean Maguire:

The raw and the crafted

The Media Standards Trust has begun a lecture series on 'Why Journalism Matters'. It is disconcerting that it feels we have to ask the question. The argument put forward by the British group's director Martin Moore is that news organisations are so preoccupied with business survival that discussion of the broader social, political and cultural function of journalism gets forgotten. It is a pertinent review then, given the icy economic blasts hitting most Anglo-Saxon media groups, and notwithstanding the recent examples of self-evidently broader journalistic 'value' produced by London's Daily Telegraph in its politican-shaming investigations into parliamentarians' expenses.

First up in the series was Lionel Barber, editor of the Financial Times, who cantered through the justifications for a vibrant, independent press. Watchdog, informer, explainer, campaigner, community builder and debater - those are the roles that journalism plays. The value that it brings is most evident by comparison with the unhealthiness of states where the press is not free, noted Barber, citing the struggles of the citizenry in China and Russia to hold their leaders to account.

The FT's USP as a media group, according to Barber, is as an explainer and analyser of complicated events that play out across a global stage. But analytical reporting of global stories costs serious cash, he noted, in a question-begging aside. That you get the quality of journalism you are prepared to pay for, ultimately, is his response to the challenge posed to mainstream media by Internet-enabled communicators. For free you can have the rawness of a blog. For crafted journalism that is properly sourced, reviewed for taste and style and checked for accuracy, you must find ways to charge. At your peril do you blur the edges between the crafted and the raw world of easy comment, hasty opinion and rumour billed as fact, argues the FT editor.  (There was a hat tip, however, to the bloggers that have broken news, such as Guido Fawkes who forced the resignation of an advisor to Gordon Brown by revealing his plans for a smear email campaign.)

Walking around with the Financial Times

Having a copy of the Financial Times poking out of your valise is one way of telling the world that you are a sophisticated business type. Another way is to show people the new FT mobile service on your BlackBerry.

Here’s the news from the press release:

The Financial Times today announces the launch of a new FT.com website optimised for mobile devices available at m.ft.com. The site is consistent with the new FT.com design unveiled in November 2008 and follows the news that FT.com has broken the one million registered user barrier for the first time.

The idea is to loop a younger generation into the FT, particularly young people who think that any newspaper showing up on any part of their person is like driving a chariot to work in the morning rush hour.