A week on the Weekend Magazine by Sonia Van Gilder Cooke

Monday 16 November 2009

If you have read the other posts on this blog, I hardly need tell you that an FT internship transcends the stereotypes: after two weeks on the job, I haven’t used the photocopier, and on my first day, one of my co-workers was kind enough to offer me a cup of coffee.

Approaching the FT building on the first day, its black exterior did not suggest bonhomie. This initial impression was belied by the senior editorial assistant, William Gregory, who quickly put me at ease as he showed the new band of interns around the different departments. As a magazine intern, I didn’t anticipate having much contact with the news team, but on the first morning, we sat in on a meeting with the editor, Lionel Barber, who exuded a quiet authority as members of the news team discussed the day’s stories.

Making our way up to the second floor, the sight of paints cluttering a desk and teetering piles of books indicated that we had reached the Life and Arts and Magazine section. William introduced me to the Weekend Magazine team and showed me to my desk, right next to the deputy and associate editors.

After settling in, the deputy editor of the magazine, Rose Jacobs, arranged a meeting to discuss my hopes for the internship. That initial meeting set the tone for my time here, during which I have felt genuinely valued by the magazine staff.

Each day, the editors assign me tasks, and I complete them as efficiently as possible. My input is solicited and my expertise valued. In return, I am expected to work independently and produce work of a high standard. After completing a fact checking assignment, I was asked to write a sidebar for a feature article. Today that issue has come out, and it is thrilling to see my name in the magazine after only a week and a half at the office.

Other projects I’ve worked on include writing the prototype for a new magazine column, contributing to the What Happened Next? feature for an upcoming issue, and co-authoring a piece with the FT’s chief environmental reporter, Fiona Harvey. Aside from these opportunities, life at the FT provides other benefits: its waterfront location allows for lunchtime rambles through the Borough Market or along the Thames.

Another pleasure of my time here has been coming to know the magazine staff. Often it’s the little things – an editor’s commitment to precise language or striking visuals - that have taught me the most. Above all, I’ve appreciated the culture of respect. I’m trusted to work hard, which is incentive enough.


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