Behind the spotlight By Aura Sabadus

Tuesday 22 September 2009

If a news editor stops short on his way home after a day’s work and quickly makes for his computer to write one last punchy caption that would ‘flatter our readers’ you know his newspaper must be rather special

The thought may be of little consolation to David Crouch’s wife when he is late for supper, poring over reams of stories, double-checking their accuracy, knocking them into shape or, indeed, tweaking a caption.

But the thousands of readers who grab the FT off the shelves the following morning may rest assured that their purchase is a worthwhile piece of luxury.

Having shadowed for a week David and his fellow news editors, Sarah Neville and James Pickford who look after the UK section of the FT, I realise that the newspaper’s appeal is only half owed to the star writers and specialist correspondents who fill the pages every day. For the other half belongs with the unseen armies of designers, assistants, subs and editors whose motley backgrounds, ideas and painstaking work make the FT the quality broadsheet that it is.

What have I learnt so far? To look beyond the obvious.

When splashing out on a daily copy of the FT, readers do so for the immediate content. But it is, as David says, the ‘furniture’ of the newspaper - an unexpected picture, a witty caption, an eye-catching graphic that really pack a punch and enhance its reputation.

My overriding impressions? To appreciate the people behind the limelight whose enthusiasm and patience have not worn off despite the many years doing the same job.

Sitting with my back to the industrial-sized newsroom of the London FT headquarters, I imagine Horatio Bottomley, the debonair Victorian bounder and first proprietor of the newspaper, strolling between desks trying to make some sense of the impenetrable market data flicking on screens or the heavily-detailed business stories waiting their turn for publication.

Like an intern on his first day, he might not understand much, but somehow I have a feeling that his gargantuan ambitions would be pleasantly tickled.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love your second to last paragraph. Would you be interested in writing about your FT experiences for InternCircle's advice page? I like your comment about looking beyond the obvious, and maybe you can continue this conversation for InternCircle's readers. You can contact me at

Chelsea Prince

27 September 2009 at 15:13  

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