International Business Times UK

Big changes are taking place at International Business Times, a digital first news organisation, which reaches 55 million global readers a month. At an exclusive Gorkana media briefing this week, its recently appointed UK editor-in-chief John Crowley and managing editor Julian Kossoff revealed the recruitment of several top flight journalists to strengthen its news team and bolster IBT UK’s mission to cover the untold stories that ‘fall through the cracks’. At the media briefing, Crowley announced the appointment of Gaurav Sharma, as business editor at IBT UK.

International Business Times readers are digital natives, intellectually inquisitive and they’re the future captains of industry,” said Crowley. In the UK, the readers almost mirror the publication’s own history: they are young, they are “globally curious” and they are a product of the modern world.

Crowley joined International Business Times in March from The Wall Street Journal where he was EMEA digital editor. He has also worked on newspapers including the Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph, and at the Gorkana event, he highlighted some of the benefits the IBT UK experiences as a digital business: “There’s investment at IBT, and there’s the type of growth that isn’t happening at some of the UK’s broadsheet papers.”

Kossoff, who previously worked at the Telegraph, Associated Press TV and the Independent on Sunday, explained, when he joined IBT UK as managing editor in 2011, it was “just a skin”, with all the news directed in from the US site. IBT UK has since grown rapidly, reinforced by on-going investment in the newsroom, continually strengthening its award-winning, original reporting of business, international news, technology and sport, in particular.


Philip Smith. Julian Kossoff and John Crowley

In the briefing, chaired by Philip Smith, head of news and content at Gorkana, Crowley and Kossoff identified several areas where PRs can get involved with IBT UK. Here are just three of them:

Video is a priority for digital natives
IBT UK has a seven-strong team dedicated to video, and Crowley and Kossoff recommend that pitched stories have a video element. The team would rather receive unedited film than film that is overproduced. “We don’t mind if it’s unvarnished and in the form of rushes, we can build something out of that.” Both agreed: “keep it simple”. IBT UK even posts videos with captions instead of sound for viewers who like to access video in public, on their mobile devices – which, Kossoff quipped: “Reminds me of the old, silent movies.”

Deadline culture doesn’t exist
Another advantage of being a digital native, according to Crowley, is that deadlines – in the traditional sense – are almost defunct. News distribution on IBT UK happens in real time. Therefore, PR professionals need not feel limited by narrow windows of opportunity when pitching stories or feature ideas, he said.

For the PR industry, IBT UK is open for business
The growth that IBT UK has recently experienced puts it in an ideal position for the formation of mutually beneficial relationships with comms professionals. Crowley explained that the title is at a place where it is open to contribution, innovative content – such as videos and gamification – and other new ideas. He said: “We’re open,” and added: “As a digitally native news organisation, we’re free.”

Dorothee de Montgolfier, group director of communications at book publisher, The Quarto Group, attended the event. She said: “I really enjoyed hearing about IBT’s disruptive approach. Their fresh thinking on what is newsworthy, combined with their ‘digital first’ approach as to how it should be covered, provided great food for thought for all of us in the communications industry.”

Sarah Hambly, communications officer at the Planet Earth Institute, was also at the briefing. She added: “I really enjoyed this opportunity to learn about the International Business Times’ disruptive approach to content creation. It was also great to hear about the audiences that IB Times is targeting, as well as tips for working with the publication’s journalists.”