THE LOS ANGELES sky was grey, but on the terrace of the Bonaventure Hotel the prevailing color was pink as the Financial Times kicked off its West Coast printing operation and news bureau.
The champagne was pink, as was the press kit, and the London-based newspaper's managing director, John Makinson, wore a pink shirt ? all to match the Financial Times' well-known, salmon-colored pages.
Included in the festivities was a 100-foot-tall balloon ? also pink ? adorned with the paper's logo and tethered to a pillar.
Makinson, once a Financial Times reporter, said that printing in Los Angeles was the "next essential step for the Financial Times in fulfilling management's goal of becoming the world's leading financial newspaper."
He added that West Coast printing will allow for distribution to hundreds of retail sites not previously served and will facilitate airline delivery to such cities as San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Denver, Albuquerque, Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, Mexico City and to Hawaii and Alaska.
"The economy of California and the West Coast is very important to the global economy, particularly because of the entertainment industry and the fact that virtually everything new in multimedia is coming out of California," Makinson said.
He added that the company also is opening an advertising office in Los Angeles.
The new print site, Southwest Offset Printing in Gardena, is the newspaper's seventh. Initially, it was announced, the Los Angeles print run will be about 14,000 copies daily, double the number that have been flown in daily from the East Coast.
International editor Peter Martin said the Los Angeles news bureau will be staffed by Christopher Parkes, who is being transferred from Singapore. He previously was bureau chief in Bonn and Frankfurt.
Martin said that earlier this year the Financial Times was given a "comprehensive overhaul that included a broader scope of page-one world news briefs and a table of leading financial indicators, which are now regionalized according to print sites. There also are specialized international news pages headed Management, Business and the Environment, Technology and The Arts.
Founded in 1888, the Financial Times is owned by Pearson PLC, the British company whose interests include the Economist, Thames TV, Penguin Books, and Westminster Press, a group of U.K. regional newspapers.
?(A 10-story-high pink balloon helps the Financial Times promote its new West Coast print site.)[Photo & Caption]
By: M.L. Stein North American operations balanced as part of global distribution plan sp.