Elizabeth Tyler's internship

Thursday, 23 July 2009

My day starts at 9.30, when I join the last leg of the commuter rush. I don’t have to be in the office until 10ish which seems extremely luxurious, with friends on city internships strictly 8 til (very) late.
It is difficult to describe a ‘typical’ day on the Life and Arts desk; activity varies daily, with a marked increase in fluster and excitement as the deadline (Thursday evening) approaches. There isn’t the constant stress of a daily news desk, which seems to allow a more forward looking, in-depth approach to cultural life in the UK and abroad. Detail and quality are everything.
Emails must be checked as soon as I get in, just in case any tasks have been thought of overnight. Having negotiated the computer and email system (with which I seem to have interminable problems) I start ringing various publishing houses to get drafts of soon to be released books; some are more helpful than others…Quite a contrast to my colleagues in the office, all of whom seem convincingly keen to get me involved and show me how the pages are made.
I have only made one cup of tea so far (debunking many an internship myth), and this was for Simon Schama, therefore making it one of the most exciting cups of tea I think I have ever made(a little bit of milk, no sugar). Coming in to contact with big names and frightfully important people has become somewhat quotidian, even if this contact is normally very distant and PR-mediated. As well as battering down the metaphorical door of film directors and famed journalists I get to sit in on various meetings that happen throughout the week. It’s fascinating to see the paper taking shape and plans being made for the weeks ahead. My comments are welcomed, especially in the smaller meetings which seem to bubble along in sparks of inspiration from all involved. It’s so exciting to feel part of such a process.
Writing has not been too far off the agenda either, with a semi-commission coming in the shape of a sidebar in my first week. Despite it not making the paper I was taken through it step by step in a conscientious attempt to improve my writing style, and am now working towards my next, interview piece.
Boredom is rarely a problem in the Life and Arts office. Even post, (which has to be opened by someone) provides entertainment, with numerous and sometimes painfully hopeful invitations, season programmes and book lists piling up on a daily basis.
Learning new skills every day, meeting inspiring people and experiencing the realities of journalism have made my time here invaluable and provided me with a much stronger base from which to spring into life after university (shudder). If only 4 weeks was just a little bit longer.

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