Why would the FT sell its independence?

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Kevin Rafferty, who was in charge of the FT’s Asia coverage and later opened the paper’s first office in Hong Kong, writes for the Japan Times about why the British business newspaper would be sold by parent Pearson.

Rafferty writes, “Not everything about the FT is perfect. Its investigative reporting is weak, and some of its reporters, and editors in their choice of the stories they highlight, show a naivete that my generation did not.

“The paper is mainstream and should be open to more radical opinions. The choice of long articles to which a full page is devoted is sometimes quirky.

“In my day, I recoiled in horror when the ‘How to spend it’ column boasted of a new product, gold toe-nail covers. Now, to my increasing horror, ‘How to spend it’ has migrated into a glossy magazine published with the paper 30 times a year and crammed with advertisements for luxury products and articles extolling goodies that surely appeal only to the 1 percent of the paper’s filthy rich readers. The latest issue highlights a folding table for taking on your travels at a cool cost of ¥3 million.

“Any sale would be bad and unsettling. Being enfolded into a big group would have the editor constantly looking over his shoulder to head office when not searching to realize the synergies of being part of a big group. However much proprietors promise continuing editorial integrity and independence of the new acquisition, the money they paid tells the lie.”

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