Stop press: end of an era as the FT’s own print site closes

On a moist night, a kind of Fleet Avenue pilgrimage happened when a bunch of Monetary Instances journalists, who spend their days compiling the FT’s ‘Pink ‘un’ print version on digital screens, made their option to a nondescript warehouse in Bow. A spot the taxi driver couldn’t discover between Stratford and the Thames to witness, for one of the final occasions, copies rolling off the FT’s St Clements printworks earlier than it closed its doorways for the closing time on Friday evening.

After a decade beneath the FT’s possession, the site is being decommissioned and the equipment is being shipped as spare components to different nonetheless surviving print works. Like the relaxation of the FT’s print websites round the world, the UK copies will now have contracted slots at one other site.

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Though most of the staff have labored at the FT for years, none had visited the print site earlier than. An hour earlier print newspaper editors had sat at the FT’s information desk in Bracken Home, finessing the splash headline earlier than releasing the entrance web page. Now, the similar textual content was rising as a metallic sheet, able to be connected to the presses as a way to churn out hundreds of copies.

The FT started printing on pink paper in 1893, as a option to differentiate itself from its rivals the Monetary Information, and to economize from not bleaching paper white, a convention that has endured. At one time, the FT’s printing presses rumbled beneath the newsroom at Bracken Home reverse St Paul’s Cathedral. And though most FT content material is now learn on cell phones and laptops, the printed model has a permanence, a loyal following and a spot at the coronary heart of the FT group.

As the presses began to whirr, drying copies of the FT started their choreographed dance throughout the huge warehouse house carried on lengthy tracks up and down, round and round the huge room. It was a mesmerising and emotional second as the papers hurtled out of the machine, seemingly in a rush to get to the readers.

As a result of though the manufacturing of information in 2022 is digital, fast-paced and ever-changing, there stays one thing magical about seeing fastidiously reported and edited tales and images being dedicated to paper.

Expert technicians monitored the output and made changes to realize the excellent registration, 2km lengthy reels of Swedish paper had been heaved into place and started to show and, as a cacophony erupted, the machine began desperately spitting out copies. In much less time than it might take to flick via its pages, the subsequent day’s FT was packaged on to crates and rushed out on trolleys to ready vans earlier than touchdown on newsagents’ cabinets and doorsteps the following morning.

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