Rotation, Rotation, Rotation by Abadesi Osunsade

Thursday, 23 July 2009

The first weeks of my editorial internship

One might think that an internship at the world-renowned Financial Times would be a somewhat daunting affair. One would be wrong. The initial, and natural, nervousness a newcomer feels upon arrival will be allayed by the friendly welcomes of FT staff. Working alongside esteemed journalists should leave an intern with comparably lacking experience paralysed by humility and, perhaps, admiration. Yet I found that as an intern I slotted neatly into the workings of the machine, and was given real responsibility from the word ‘go’, backed by words of encouragement. As an FT intern, there will be no photocopying, no tedious admin tasks and no making cups of tea – although a kind sub-editor may offer to fetch you one.

My three month stint began at the Media desk, where I was most intimidated by the financial jargon being casually thrown around in conversations, and in the dozens of pages of analysts’ reports I was asked to read. Note wisely: will be your new best friend. My first assignment was an informal lunch meeting on Regent Street with a CEO. Shadowing my ‘boss’, the telecoms editor, was like a ‘baptism of fire’ as the gentlemen I met exclaimed when they realised it was only my first day. “First day and a free lunch? Not bad, eh?” Not bad at all. I returned to the office to attempt writing my first ‘FT-style’ news story. I used to be an Editor for my student newspaper but this was my first foray into financial reporting. Gladly I was given helpful feedback and later in the week got my first by-line. The count soon went from one to three, and by the end of my first week I already felt like a real reporter.

After my two exciting weeks at Media, where I also attended the press launch of the Palm Pre (the media dubbed ‘iPhone killer’), had an 8 am breakfast interview with a managing director (try eating whilst writing responses, it is very difficult), and helped design a diagram to explain how the internet works, I moved to my next desk – UK News. UK News, unlike Media, is situated in the hustle and bustle of the main newsroom. The day begins with the Editorial Conference, and not long after the news team meets to decide what stories to pursue, what angle to take and where in the first pages of the paper the stories will go. If it’s a good news day, we’ll have a juicy scoop. To coincide with a news story on the White Paper on social care for the elderly, I was sent to do vox-popping in idyllic Christchurch, Dorset. I felt a bit like a foreign correspondent having never ventured that far west before. I returned to report my findings to my Editor and wrote a news story for the web. My next desk will be Markets and I wait in fervent anticipation of what experiences it will bring.


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