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Inside the Financial Times’ special projects strategy

The first special project Robin Kwong, Specials Projects Editor, has overseen since his appointment in February was Robot Week, a series published in May looking at the role robots and machines play in our day-to-day life.

“We discovered that because our audience peaks in the early morning commute, that’s when we wanted things to go out.

“We used Google spreadsheets to track everything that went into the production process, accessible to everyone. So if we had a set time for publishing on Monday, everything for that day would need to be in place by the previous Friday.

“We’d never had to store up a week’s worth of stories like this before and [Google Sheets] was a low tech way of doing it, but in the future it could be built into our CMS and workflow.”

Some twenty-five people worked on Robot Week and after the series concluded, Kwong, Matthias and news editor Peter Spiegel held a retrospective review meeting with video producers, audience engagement editors, and commercial and technology staff, to break down what had gone well during the project and what could be improved next time.

“From my perspective, I’ve always said this new job is about being able to scale and that means others need to be able to do things as well.

“So my goal is to help editors or people who will be put in charge of these projects as much as possible, show them how I approach things and what works, and then they can take it, leave it or adapt that to their own style of work.”

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