Intern of Phrase by Alice Baker

Friday, 23 October 2009

The most appropriate way to describe the atmosphere of the FT office is ‘serene action.’ That may sound like an oxymoron, but it really fits. The offices are a hive of activity, but things never feel chaotic. The ‘click click’ of the computer keys is an ever-present soundtrack that creates an air of calm efficiency.

My stint was with the Books and House and Home sections of Ft Weekend. Thursday is the significant day for the Weekend edition, for that is the day it goes to press. My main duty was fact checking, which I did for both sections. The basic rule is, anything that can be checked, should be checked, especially if it could be potentially controversial. Another significant aspect was research, which as my placement was in October was angled towards preparing for next year by finding out books due to be published and so forth. This was done using the internet and that more old fashioned resource, reference books (FT has its own library of useful titles).

Best of all, my placement provided me with opportunities to write columns and reviews for the paper itself. I find it exciting seeing my by-line appear, and I suspect that you will be when you see yours. Another chance for creativity is offered with the possibility of helping think up good headlines for the Books review section. This is actually rather difficult, thinking of a succinct and memorable way to describe a featured book. What seems like a good headline when you first think of it often sounds awful when you say it out loud. But you can really get your creative juices going. The title of this piece, by the way, is a rather weak way of paying homage to this.

Other contributors have commented about this, but it’s worth saying again; one of the best things about work experience with FT is that you don’t have to make the tea. Your tasks are constructive, and as a result it’s a more rewarding experience both for yourself and for the people you’re assisting.

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