Anna Chambers week on the weekend magazine

Friday, 24 April 2009

Each morning I alight at London Bridge Station and enjoy a scenic and historic stroll to where the FT Building squats beside the Thames. On my first day I was rather apprehensive about entering the intimidating black glass façade, but now two weeks into my internship it seems par for the course. Life at the FT is certainly something I could get used to.

My first morning was taken up with the grand sounding ‘tour of the editorial floors’ as promised in my introductory email. All was quiet on the news desk at 9.30am, but I was soon ushered in to the morning news conference for my first taste of the action. Watching senior FT journalists effortlessly hold forth on global affairs was a sobering experience. After a few eager minutes spent trying to grasp the flood of information passing between these journalistic titans, I succumbed to a sense of awe. We interns need some higher goal to help keep things in perspective, and the indelible memory of the FT news conference will surely serve as a beacon as I pursue the trepidatious path of the fledgling journalist.

Since then, I have been cocooned in the relative safety of the magazine. Any anxious visions of being run through a Devil-Wears-Prada-style gauntlet of coffee runs and small humiliations were soon dispelled by the welcoming editors and subs.

My days here consist of a mixture of delegated tasks like fact-checking and proof-reading articles. The rest of the time I spend researching and pitching ideas for regular features like ‘Defining moment’ and ‘The Information’. I’m looking forward to contributing some book reviews to Life & Arts and to visiting the local bookshop to find fitting extracts for ‘That WasThen’. After pitching an idea for first person, I’m hoping to be able to conduct a phone interview soon, and perhaps even be able to road-test some quirky pastimes for the ‘Great Indoors’.

Perhaps the best aspect of life on the magazine is the sheer breadth of subjects I have been introduced to. I can now claim expertise on topics as varied as King Ethlebert of Kent to the future of Artificial Intelligence. Yesterday I was immersed in the wonders of canine literature and the modern realities of piracy on the high seas. If the pace of life here is a little slower than the frenetic dash of the news desk, it is certainly never dull.

This morning I arrived to find a copy of this weekend’s magazine on my desk, with my first article printed in glossy technicolour. As far as my modest experience of internships goes, the FT can’t be faulted for providing a friendly and stimulating environment, with lots of opportunities to secure those sought-after bylines.


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