Eight Point Two on Nine Point Five by Chris Tosic

Wednesday 20 January 2010

I started Monday morning with a swift guided tour of the building and an overview of the busy hub that produces the excellent Financial Times newspaper and website. This was followed by the Monday morning editorial meeting which both critiqued the weekend paper and developed the on going political, financial and market stories for the day(s) ahead.

I was then introduced to the graphics team, a really cool bunch of people and all very welcoming. After some brief design chat I was then allocated a computer, and a few passwords later I had my first look at Xsmile and Methode, the core applications which pull all the newspaper content together to realize the paper itself. (Next week I will have specific training for these applications so its read-only access for now!)

My first job, using InDesign, was to look at the skyline area on the front cover of the FT paper itself. Nothing like starting with something simple! I was fooled, this turned into two days days of intense design analysis; working with a small group of FT typefaces (BentonSans, MillerDisplay and Clarion), plus a 40 mm high working area I grappled with all the ‘elements of typographic style’ that is the FT. Subtle hierarchy shifts, text on and off the baseline grid, playful colour interactions and discrete tracking, kerning and leading. For all you typography freaks out there 8.2/9.5pt refers to the main body text, I’m sorry but that sort of info interests me!

Anyway, Its now Thursday and I have been set a slightly more involved task of creating a kind of future index listing of possible articles that will appear later in the week advertising different writers and stories that the FT are following. It certainly got me thinking too, but that said I now have 135 mm of space across 6 columns, yeah, all is good on the graphic intern desk ... later.

Interning on the Interactive Desk by Cornelia Treptow

Tuesday 19 January 2010

My internship at the Financial Times began in the building's reception where I met another new intern. We spent a few minutes learning a bit about each other before being given a whirlwind tour of the editorial floors. It was certainly exciting to witness first-hand the behind-the-scenes of such an iconic newspaper, and the tailored tour made us feel welcome from the very beginning. After the tour we were invited to attend the morning meeting, known as Conference, during which the editors discuss that day’s paper and what to prepare for the next day. This provided an excellent insight into the newspaper’s editorial process.
During my time at the FT no two days were really the same though my overall responsibility was to provide support for the interactive team working on FT.com. Some days were spent researching how subscribers use the FT’s blogs and website comment functions whilst others involved preparing web-posts themselves. In addition, I helped by researching background information and facts for a number of projects for the website. Beyond this, I was tasked with preparing a timeline of key events during President Obama’s first year in office, and then searching for links and pictures to accompany each of the events. This was particularly interesting as it allowed me to observe how a project evolves from being just an idea to a finished product that is ready for the website. 
Away from simply working at the desk, I was invited to watch the recording of one of the FT podcasts. Jumping at the opportunity, I was shown how the recording equipment works, what the producer’s role is and then later how to edit podcasts and post them onto the web. After being shown, I was able to edit and post on my own.
Halfway through my second week, I spent a day with an IT expert getting one-on-one tuition about the software that is used to put the paper together, how the FT uses it and the process a story goes through from its initial writing to it appearing in the newspaper and on the website. This was really fascinating, and a great way to understand how the work I was doing at a desk related to the website and the finished paper itself.
In all, I’ve had a wonderful experience at the FT and would recommend it as an opportunity not to be missed. Everyone I have worked with has not only been welcoming and friendly but also patient and willing to take the time to ensure that I understand different processes and how my work will be used. My parting advice to future interns would be to make the most of your time at the FT; you’ll certainly get more out of it if you put more in.

Fine times: Christmas at the FT Weekend by Sonia Krylova

Thursday 7 January 2010

The most exciting task of my internship was reporting on a modern day ‘Feed the 5,000’ in Trafalgar Square. This mass-scale freegan meal, organised by ‘Lunch with the FT’ guest Tristram Stuart, was raising the issue of wasteful consumption by serving asymmetric potatoes and imperfect bananas to surprised Londoners. Accompanied by a photographer, I was to capture their reactions through a Vox Pop.

The Financial Times is renowned for the quality and accuracy of its work, and this is reflected in the meticulous approach to every article. My first research task was to put a figure on the fortune of an art-collecting Ukrainian oligarch. I found the answer in the FT’s very own library, after a flick through Forbes’ List of Billionaires. I then had to chase an image of Pinchuk’s latest acquisition by calling Christie’s and Sotheby’s. “Hello, I’m from the FT”.

The office is generally calm, and if there is a commotion, it is probably the How To Spend It sale. This alone is sufficient to awaken the animal spirits of the hard-working journalists, who otherwise remain unfased by the fast-paced environment.

You can spot the FT Weekend by the stacks of books on the desks, sent from publishers hoping for a mention. As I imagined, working here comes with glamorous perks. Still, I did not expect to be sent to The Hospital, an arty private members’ club, to review a film in my first week.

Other interns you meet will confirm that working at the FT will supersede your expectations: most people leave with a by-line. The graduate trainees, too, praise the scheme as the best in the industry.

Applying for the internship is surprisingly simple and for anyone serious about journalism, it is definitely an opportunity too good to forego.

An internship with the Life & Arts desk by Julia Hobbs

Arriving at the FT on the first Monday after the Christmas break via multiple bus journey across London was like finally arriving at the Emerald City, (only it is brownish).

Seated next to another new intern in the lobby we exchanged names and smiles whilst shedding scarves and coats before crossing the final security line. After a tour of the large yet calm editorial floors (there were no stand-up exclamations of ‘Hot Dog!’) we were invited to observe the editor’s morning meeting and witnessed firsthand Mr. Barber at the helm of this international powerhouse.

I can only echo the positive comments you will have read within other entries in this blog- I felt warmly welcomed and instantly a part of the Life & Arts team.

As an editorial intern you can expect to assist with the day-to-day tasks of the editors; this may involve chasing a proof copy of an unpublished book, fact-checking restaurants in far away places or even preparing a short side bar! Working on the Life & Arts Desk is challenging, I have had the opportunity to indulge my interest in cultural happenings, and feel that my input and participation has been valued. The responsibilities of the intern are varied and interesting; this is most definitely not an internship where you will be left to do filing in a corner. In just the first few days I felt that I was already beginning to harvest practical skills that will help me in my future career in journalism.

I look forward to the next few weeks.