THE tension in the air was tangible. As the first copy of the Daily FT rolled hot off the press on 23 November 2009 to the delight of its small and tightly-knit staff, the jubilant sense of achievement was universal. We had done it!
Daily FT was launched as the first national daily business newspaper in the history of Sri Lanka exactly one year ago. It was the result of a short but intense process where a new editorial was assimilated into the skeleton of the previous Daily Mirror Financial Times. History was on the side of FT and as a brand leader, it spearheaded change – the distinctive pink paper, its attractive layout and bold stories made it the essential read for every businessman.
Now the challenge was to take it one step further and establish the Daily FT and Weekend FT as an independent newspaper. Revolutionary from the outset, Daily FT strived to distinguish itself from the rest and absorb a range of stories and go beyond the boundaries of traditional “business reporting”. Issues of universal interest with political interviews, renowned columnists and analysis on development projects, in-depth and special reports as well as business news filled the pages. The idea was to present a discussion platform on the crucial challenges faced by a nation fresh from a three-decade conflict and concentrate on the importance of sustainable and inclusive development.
Business news is not just for CEOs or executives. It is for the small time investor in the Colombo Stock Exchange, the farmer who wants to tie up with a conglomerate, the tea planter who wants to know what the auction prices are, the human resource professional to understand the changes in the female workforce, understanding international trends and their effect on Asia, detailed market reports for investors and holistic knowledge for professionals – Daily FT focuses on all stakeholders.
As Sri Lanka looks to catch up on lost opportunities, the focus on development has become almost obsessive, heightening the need for discourse to ensure that it is done in an equitable manner. Reconciliation though advancing the economy while ensuring better good governance, transparency and accountability is also the aim of Daily FT. The hitherto narrow view of business journalism was thrown open to give people better value and empowerment, hence our value proposition – ‘Be Empowered with Daily FT’.
The lighter side of life was included in the Lite section of Weekend FT, which concentrates on providing readers a view of interesting events around town – ranging from dramas, exhibitions, fashion, new products and even the chance to contribute to worthy causes. From a thought process, Lite has grown to be an integral part of the paper.
The web version – www.ft.lk – was initially launched as an e-paper and re-launched on 1 October 2010 for greater accessibility. Leapfrogging up the web listings for Sri Lanka, it was among the top 100 just one month after the launch and keeps expanding in popularity with several more value additions planned for the future.
A committed and passionate young editorial team working long hours, taking on onerous tasks at a moment’s notice and contributing with their creative ideas and the staff on the advertising, marketing and production sections have given their all for the success of Daily FT. An ever-supportive and equally demanding Wijeya Newspapers Ltd. management has helped Daily FT to be innovative in the realm of print media.
Originally, within the prospective readership and advertising community, there were many sceptics and several who didn’t understand our value proposition. One year later many of them have become our brand ambassadors, extending moral support as well as investing in Daily FT as it begun to emerge as the most effective platform for business-to-business communication and advertising.
Our progress in value addition has only just begun. More formidable challenges lie ahead for the newspaper and the country. The confidence with which Daily FT was launched and continued support and feedback will strengthen our resolve to empowering post-war Sri Lanka and its diverse stakeholders. We have achieved our first milestone and are on course for many more – and Daily FT wants to do it with a progressive Sri Lanka.