First Day

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

My internship began as London still reeled from Monday’s snow induced travel chaos; more specifically I started it a day late, sitting in the lobby while waiting for my contact to fight their way through the lingering disruptions. To pass the time I read through that morning’s FT, feeling like a tourist leafing through a guide to Rome while standing in the Trevi Fountain. Soon though, they arrived and took me on a tour of the office.

I was impressed and a little intimidated by the precise layout and sparkling technology, especially noticeable because it seemed largely empty. ‘People trickle in between around twelve and three: they leave around one am’ was the explanation. It certainly sounded like a newsroom, although it looked more pristine than I expected. We came to FT Weekend which was to be my department, full of books and bustle. Repeatedly I experienced the thrill of a familiar name, and everybody welcomed me.

Lunchtime arrived, and as the desks around me began to empty I headed upstairs. The food in the canteen was good but the views were better, snow cresting the rooftops of the city.

After lunch I received my first assignment. I was given several articles and asked to check them for factual errors; it sounded straightforward but proved lengthy and complicated. It was rewarding work, and I was pleased to have a substantial assignment on my first day. I was reluctant to leave, and arrived early the next morning.

Not long after I had my next project: to write a short piece which might appear in the paper in ten days time if I did a good job. It was hard to believe – I had expected to be a peripheral figure, but instead there was real work for me to do. Right now, I am hoping the returning snow doesn’t lose me another day.

Greg Lass


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