6 weeks in the life of an FT intern – Magda Ali

Thursday, 13 August 2009

A switch of FT desks every 3 weeks is exciting but equally overwhelming. There are no dull admin tasks, photocopying or making cups of coffee – that much every editorial intern knows. But after experiencing your first desk at the FT, you feel a sense of apprehension; is it going to be as good as the last? Will I learn as much? Will they be as nice?

My first three weeks began at the Lex desk where I was filling in for the publisher/ researcher. 8.am start, we’d commence with preparing for the morning meeting where the writers would pitch their ideas, and Jo Johnson (head of lex) would give the go ahead. By 12 The Lex writers would have the notes up, ready for me to publish. Best part of Lex? Apart from the fact that starting early means you to finish at 4 and enjoy the sun, I’d learnt absolutely all there is to know about the wonderful world of Methode. (FT’s publishing software). One week into Lex, and I was also assigned my first editorial task to write the weekly “letter from the editor” section of Lex which would go on the FT site. Had a crack at it, enjoyed it and did the letter the next week. So there it was – my first two bylines at the FT.

Then I moved to FT Money. It was there that the real reportage began. I would write about two stories a day, which would go straight into publication – the count soon went from one to twenty, it was there I began to really grasp the fundamentals of finance reporting. My younger brother called me from Switzerland that week, only to tell me I'd been Journalistedand all my articles appeared on google. To think, everything I’d write would be read by FT readers - a phenomenal feeling to say the least.

I have learnt more about the realities of Journalism in my six weeks at the FT than I have 3 years at Journalism school. University assignments are nothing like writing stories for the FT, and seeing the very stories appear on the paper and the site. Working alongside esteemed journalists in itself is an astonishing experience – sharing by lines with the very same journalists – more so. Getting tens of by-lines on the FT is not something a just-turned 21 year old journalist anticipates. I am now half way into this internship and I can honestly say that the experience has surpassed any expectation I had built up. My next desk will be UK Companies; I can only hope that what's left of my time at the FT will be as stimulating.


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