Katrina Bishop’s UK News Desk Experience, June 2009

Monday, 22 June 2009

Perhaps the most valuable aspect of my internship on the FT’s UK News desk was actually sitting at the UK News desk.

At the centre-front of the news room, the desk produces the first pages of every FT edition, and as such is a constant hub of discussion. Sat next to the UK news editors and overhearing constant agenda-setting decisions being made is an experience I have never had in any other news room, and am unlikely to experience again any time soon.

After I had managed to stop listening to every conversation that occurred on the desk, I was put to work. Interns attend the main morning conference on the first day – yet another amazing experience – and I was subsequently involved in the daily UK News meetings.

Unlike some news editors, the UK desk encouraged me to pitch my own ideas for news stories. They were eager to listen to any ideas I had, and when they liked a pitch would encourage me in writing it and advise me when needed.

When I wasn’t writing my own stories, or helping the editors directly (listing Sir Alan Sugar’s top business quotes was a humorous highlight) they allowed me to help out other sections.

Because of this, my days were never the same: one day I would help compile reading for Gideon Rachman’s blog; the next I would be up early, interviewing commuters; and another I would spend ringing up luxury hotels trying to barter prices for a story on the luxury price index.

As such it seems artificial to try and give a day in the life; the FT gives its interns as varied an experience as possible. My advice to anyone considering an internship at the FT? Prepare to be in awe of the newsroom, but prepare to get over it, work hard and relish the experience of working alongside some of the best journalists in the world.


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