Reading and writing the business pages in a fast-changing world
From in-depth analysis to a pioneer web presence, business coverage has been at vanguard of innovation
Business, or more particularly the markets, have featured in this newspaper from its earliest days. Back in 1860, the paper carried a Market & Commercial Intelligence section towards the back of what was then a four-page production – alongside Foreign Intelligence, Law Intelligence and Police Intelligence columns.
Its focus back then was effectively on the financial markets and, while it was presented as news liberally interspersed with comment, it was a largely anonymous affair.
Since May 20th, 1963, business and finance has been a daily feature, under various titles. Market data was quickly relegated to a second page to allow more space for news reports.
Since then, the pace of change has accelerated, regardless of boom or recession, as Ireland’s increasingly open economy has brought the world’s leading companies to our shores. In November 1992, driven by a desire to broaden and deepen the business coverage, and facilitated in part by rapidly increasing demand for recruitment advertising, the paper launched a standalone supplement. Key to its success was the arrival of colour printing to Irish daily newspapers.
For the first time, in-depth interviews and profiles of business figures featured in the pages each Friday, alongside personal finance coverage which was sought by an increasingly affluent middle class with money to invest but little understanding of the options open to them.
Five years later, in late 1997, technology coverage was added to the mix. The Irish Times had already taken its first tentative steps into the digital age with a website for the paper in 1996.
Towards the end of the 1990s, online reporters created the first dedicated business pages on The Irish Times online. Since then, digital has played an increasingly important role.
In February 2012, recognising the central role of business coverage, The Irish Times announced that business supplements would appear each day from Monday to Friday.
At a time when breaking news is readily available online – both at www.irishtimes.com/business and elsewhere – what readers increasingly value in their newspaper is the insight into why certain events have occurred and what might be expected next.
From within its ranks and through the paper’s syndication agreements with other leading world papers such as the Financial Times, the New York Times and the Guardian, The Irish Times has built up an impressive array of commentators. These include John McManus and Ciarán Hancock looking behind key events in Irish business, and top Irish economic writers alongside Nobel laureate Paul Krugman and the FT’s widely respected Martin Wolf.
The paper’s long-standing technology columnist Karlin Lillington is recognised as one of the most authoritative voices in the sector across Europe, covering policy issues and new developments from Dublin to Silicon Valley and Brussels.
Chris Horn, one of Ireland’s most successful technology entrepreneurs, writes regularly on the challenges for Irish business and policymakers in innovation, alongside science editor Dick Ahlstrom and Davin O’Dwyer.
Media, in all its forms – not forgetting social media – is an area critical to business development and Laura Slattery keeps a critical eye on developments in one of the fastest-changing sectors.
Our export-driven economy means business leaders need to be aware of developments in key markets, and the paper plays its part with Asia correspondent Clifford Coonan reporting weekly, while Fiona Walsh, business editor of Guardian Online, comments on key business stories in Britain.