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The Financial Times Story Playbook

The Financial Times has created a set of digital story templates to help its reporters and editors commission digital and visual stories. Collectively, they are called the Story Playbook.

The templates are built directly into our content management system, but the principles and thinking behind them are widely applicable for other newsrooms.

Read more about how and why we created these templates at Source Opennews

There are six Story Playbook templates:

Profile Cards

An article that introduces a group of people or other entities to the reader

Example: Who will replace Mark Carney as Bank of England governor?


An article that explains changes, or a trend, using a series of charts and graphs

Example: Donald Trump’s claims of US-Mexico border crisis, in charts

Timeline Story

An easy-to-update article that catches readers up on the story so far

Example: Israel in the Golan Heights — a timeline

Reader Response

An article collecting the best of reader responses, either to a callout or in the comments section of a big story

Example: Are British universities worth the cost? FT readers respond

Photo Essay

An article that lets readers see what has happened

Example: Tokyo’s legendary Tsukiji fish market closes

Animated Explainers

A short video that explains a concept or a series of events

Example: Uber IPO: Company banking on diversification

This Github repository contains the guides to using the templates. The guides are written for reporters and editors, and answer common questions such as:

  • Where can I find it?
  • What is it good for?
  • What is it not good for?
  • What are good previous examples?
  • How long does it take to make one of these?
  • Who do I need to talk to?
  • What do I do?


This software is published by the Financial Times under the MIT licence.

Please note the MIT licence includes only the software, and does not cover any FT content made available using the software, which is copyright © The Financial Times Limited, all rights reserved. For more information about re-publishing FT content, please contact our syndication department.


Guides to a set of news story layout templates, collectively called the Story Playbook



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