Intern blog – Farah Halime

Friday 14 August 2009

The word “intern” has many connotations, most of them not particularly positive. Some of our columnists have remarked on these attributes that are shared by many – even interns themselves.

But just as the FT is an exception in its spine-chillingly high standard of journalism, so is it an exception for internships. With a string of other media-related placements behind me at various newspapers and broadcasters, I feel I can comment with some legitimacy on the usefulness of this placement.

Having just completed five weeks on the interactive desk, I was able to move from pitching an idea on banking regulation, to researching it (this opened up avenues of communication with FT journalists in our offices in Brussels and New York) and producing it with the help of FT designers. The final product is the result of weeks of collaboration and unlike a news story it can be embedded into various pieces relating to regulation, over and over again.

The interactive desk will stand me in good stead for this alone, but the sense of achievement I have gained from seeing an idea realistically develop into an FT product is enormous. It goes to show that an idea can go a long way at the FT.

I think quite a defining moment came when our Editor, Lionel Barber, picked up on the graphic in his weekly editorial update (where he notes pieces of particular interest). This was a cheer to the interactive team and a sentiment to the hard work we put into it.

The interactive desk is also at the crux of a major part of the organisation: a move towards online journalism. Digital services accounted for 67% of FT Group revenues in 2008, up from 28% in 2000 whilst the emphasis on advertising went down in the same period. It is exciting to be part of a growing phenomenon that is so crucial to modern journalism.

I am now working on the Books/House & Home desk; part of the weekend edition. The emphasis is on lifestyle (high standard, luxurious lifestyles at that) and creative thinking. There is not the pressure of the news desk, but the same benchmark well known to the FT remains. I have been asked to review an as yet unreleased book and I feel a certain privilege in this. If there is something many FT interns have in common, it is that we are given a certain responsibility that is not matched in any other organisation. There is also openness towards new ideas as I have already suggested.

I am currently working on a story I pitched that has allowed me to speak to people in the US, Japan, China and across Europe. Global contact almost goes without saying at the FT but for me it is exciting and introduces me to a wealth of knowledge on different cultures and economies.

Above all, the FT encourages and nurtures the intern who is enthusiastic and eager to learn. As clichéd as it sounds – if you arrive with ideas and a smile, you can achieve what you want!


Blogger Margaret said...

Great info about life as an FT Intern. How does one go about becoming an intern? I'm in a Masters program in the US for Journalism
and am looking for an internship. What was your process like?

Margaret Teich
City University of New York

4 October 2009 at 09:14  

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