A month on U.K Companies By Andrew Jude Rajanathan

Friday 23 October 2009

My initial reaction upon receiving an offer to intern at the Financial Times was one of shock and awe. This rare opportunity was something I had to grab with both hands even if it meant missing a week or so of my masters. It simply is too good an opportunity for anyone interested in journalism, especially business/financial journalism to pass up. I would spend the next four weeks writing for U.K Companies.

The first day was incredible. I was invited to sit on the editors meeting on Monday morning where all the editors including the main editor Lionel Barber came together to discuss what would go into the paper. To put it simply, the incredibly high standards set by some of the editors and reporters set the tone for what would be expected of me as an intern. I just hoped I would be able to rise to the occasion.

The real baptism of fire for anyone joining the FT is likely to be an awesome struggle getting your computer to work and often this takes a bit of time. Thankfully, I was able to login to my desk and quickly familiarize myself with my new surroundings.

Many other past interns will comment on the fact that they were given real work to do over the short period of their stay. I can fully confirm this is the case. The structure of the FT is such that any new fledgling journalists or reporters are immediately given proper work to do and critical feedback would follow shortly. My first assignment was to produce a results piece on a company called ‘BrainJuicer’ not only that but I would need to have completed an interview with the CEO as well as completed a lot of background research on the company before I could put the article together. The surreal feeling of calling up a CEO and saying ‘I’m from the FT’ was incredible. While these corporate heavyweights would not realize you were merely an intern hiding behind a first class brand. That was the beauty of the internship you were there to learn but also to do real work.

Most of my mentors at the FT have been incredibly kind and generous with their time over the past four weeks as I attempted to navigate my way around the busy corridors of the building. From teaching me how to use a Bloomberg terminal to potential avenues to gather research I cannot state enough how kind some of these journalists are. My feedback from my editor was also very helpful and constructive to my own development as a journalist.

My four weeks are about to come to an end and I’ve interviewed numerous CEO’s from small-medium sized businesses to AIM-LSE listed firms as well as learning an awful lot about U.K companies in such a short period of time. However, the best part was my desk location at the FT. While I was only placed on the U.K companies desk I sat to the left of the Lex column whose phone conversations were illuminating and interesting to listen in on during the occasional lull in the day.

Greatest achievements - I’ve managed to get two bylines and I can comfortably say nothing beats seeing your own name in print.


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