What’s your takeaway from this incredible year? Mine: Playtime is over. Let me explain what I mean by that.
When I took over as editor-in-chief of the Financial Post a year ago, the plan was to write a mission statement within the first few months.
Then, a populist revolt on Parliament Hill in January turned into a major business story, kicking off a news cycle like I’d never seen.
“War in Europe” didn’t appear in any of my planning notebooks, but that’s what consumed our attention over the latter part of February and into the spring. I had sided with Team Transitory in the post-pandemic inflation debate, so I was caught off guard when price pressures got worse, not better.
Wiser observers of history, geopolitics and economics were ready for some of this. Others got lucky and guessed correctly. Most of us just tried to keep up. Fortunately, the FP is staffed with some fast runners, including editors Pamela Heaven and Victoria Wells, expert curators of the news who led live blogs that helped Canadian business readers make sense of the chaotic start to 2022.
Back to the mission statement. It was delayed. But that’s OK. We learned some things. A plan based on assumptions drawn from recent history wouldn’t have lasted the year anyway. Even the disruptors of the previous decade are now being disrupted by forces beyond their control. (See: Elon Musk and Tesla Inc.’s share price.) Western liberal democracies such as Canada had a good run, but it seems clear that the pandemic was a harbinger of a new age of uncertainty, not an outlier event. Like I said, playtime is over.
Don’t worry. As I learned at the start of the year, the FP is good at chaos.
Managing editor Joe Hood and senior reporter Barbara Shecter are veterans of some of the most brutal news cycles in recent memory, and they’re still standing. No one works harder than Stephanie Hughes and no one writes more eloquently on the complex systems that underpin the Canadian economy than Jake Edmiston. The younger reporters who have joined the team over the past couple of years are on their way to becoming stars. We’ve got you covered.
I eventually finished that mission statement, so we also have a plan. It has five pillars. The first is news. The FP will be a haven from the cacophony of social media. If you have a stake in the Canadian economy, consider us your concierge for information on the companies, decisionmakers and issues that matter to you.
The second pillar is economy. The FP will deliver world-class coverage of monetary policy, fiscal policy and technological disruption. Our work on the economy will complement the third pillar: the energy transition, which most agree is an existential threat, although the nature of that threat differs depending on where you sit. Meghan Potkins in Calgary, Gabriel Friedman and Naimul Karim in Toronto, and Marisa Coulton in Montreal will deliver weekly dispatches on the most important story in Canadian business.
Fourth: real estate. Our analytics show us that our audience is obsessed with the housing market, so that means we’re obsessed with the housing market. The deep interest surely relates to the extent to which Canadian households associate their financial well-being to the value of their homes. So, our coverage of housing will overlap with our final pillar: investing and retirement. Andy Holloway, editor of the award-winning FP Investor newsletter, stands out in a crowded field of mediocre content. Andy doesn’t do mediocre, which means if you don’t read him, you aren’t managing your investments as well as you could.
I doubt the FP is the only thing you read; in fact, I hope it isn’t. But if you’re receiving this, it means we’re part of your mix. Thank you for sticking with us. We know the competition for your time is fierce and we intend to keep up the fight for your attention in 2023. If you’re not yet a paying subscriber, consider supporting our work with a subscription — we have an excellent holiday offer available now for a limited time.
Some newsrooms have specific agendas, and others value awards. The FP cares most about its audience. That’s why you can count on us to help you through the storms to come. If there are things you think we can do better, please get in touch. Until then, I hope you all have a restful holiday and an excellent start to the new year.
Editor-in-chief, Financial Post