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Financial Times editor Lionel Barber said the midst of an economic recession was the "best of times and the worst of times to be a financial journalist".

Best because it was a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to report, analyse and comment on the most serious financial crisis since the Great Crash of 1929". The worst because the media industry faced job losses of its own and accusations that it had "failed to warn an unsuspecting public of impending disaster".

But if the FT didn't do enough to warn of the crash, as some of our judges suggested, it wasn't the only one.

Barber has been credited with rejuvenating the FT since he became the editor in 2005. And as he suggested, in the midst of a global financial crisis the paper's agenda has become mainstream news.

Except the paper has not reaped the accolades it did in the previous 12 months - when it was twice named newspaper of the year - and its circulation has suffered after a double price hike that makes the cover price £2 on weekdays and £2.50 at weekends.

Its global daily circulation of 410,928 in May was 8.8% down year on year. Of that, it sold 119,526 in UK and Ireland, and 139,147 in the US.

Barber's integration of his print and digital operations continued this year with FT reporters required to subedit parts of their own stories. This would challenge, said Barber, "the old linear process inherited from the industrial revolution".

But there was anger at plans to make up to 80 staff redundant across its global operations in the same year that parent company Pearson announced record profits. FT staff were also given the opportunity to work a three-day week, one of a range of cost-cutting measures introduced in the past 12 months.

The Financial Times website, FT.com, has more than 1.3 million non-paying registered users worldwide, with another 110,000 paying subscribers. The challenge remains to turn more of the latter into the former, one of the big industry issues of the next 12 months and beyond.

Barber has been at the FT for 24 years, and has worked as its Washington correspondent, Brussels bureau chief and the managing editor of its US edition. He previously worked at the Sunday Times and the Scotsman.

Delivering the Poynter Fellowship lecture at Yale University this year, he defended the media's failure to see the credit crunch coming. But he said journalists still "have a crucial role to play ... they still have the capacity to be the canaries in the coalmine".

A consummate schmoozer and inveterate name-dropper, Barber likes Bruce Springsteen and The Wire, and his favourite film is the 1970s New York subway thriller, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three.

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