A 360 view of the World News desk by Vanessa Kortekaas

Friday 20 November 2009

One need only attend the morning conference to see how the FT family embodies the values fundamental to good journalism: integrity, authority and accuracy. The internship program offers a glimpse into how this model news organization churns out the pink pages that set the agenda for people across the globe everyday. At the World News desk, the hub that connects a web of foreign reporters, there is never a dull moment…

Morning “huddles” mark the start of the day as various editors reflect on the previous day’s paper and hash out stories for tomorrow. As an intern, these meetings have given me insight into the editorial decision-making process at the FT. It also offers a lesson on how editors map out pages over several editions of the paper. Then, while the editors commission stories and begin editing copy, I set about other tasks.

Fortunately, my arrival at the FT has coincided with the impending launch of the World News blog. Although it isn’t up and running yet, I have been able to contribute to this exciting project, which reinforces the connection between print and online. My role has largely entailed writing daily “Issue Briefings” for the blog. I confer with the deputy editor, Shaun Donnan, to select the biggest story of the day and write about the issues and angles being covered across media outlets and think tanks around the world. As well as news articles, it includes videos, interviews, documents, and reports – your one-stop shop for the big issue of the day.

In my second week I was asked to write an article to contribute to the FT’s Road to Copenhagen series. The next day I was perched in a vineyard in Southeast England, interviewing an English winemaker who has benefited from global warming. Such is the pace at the FT.

The FT newsroom is a truly inspiring place to be. Talent aside, Alec Russell and everyone at the World News desk is welcoming and willing to let their interns contribute. The FT internship is essential learning experience for any aspiring journalist trying to understand how newspapers can succeed in the 21st century.


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