UK News by Sarah Rainey

Friday 23 July 2010

£25m country estates... The aspirations of British postgraduates... Revelations at the Chilcot Inquiry... Rioting in Northern Ireland... Travel companies going bust... These are just some of the things I have written about after nearly two weeks working with the Financial Times’ UK News team. It’s been a varied, fast-paced and unforgettable internship – and I know that as the final days approach, they’re really going to have to force me to leave the office on Friday afternoon.

I can’t begin to explain how ridiculously excited I was to get my own FT email address on my first day here. It’s all part of the professionalism of the company – never before on work experience have I been treated so much like a fellow journalist, as opposed to a tea-making student. All interns are expected to pitch ideas, contribute to editorial meetings and research articles – and even though you can’t get it right every time, the people I’ve met have given helpful and encouraging feedback throughout my time here.

Financial news is far from my forte, but the FT makes even the most complex of stories accessible – with its talented journalists, creative graphics team and hard-working editors, who stay late into the night making sure the paper contains an eye-catching mix of stories and is consistently impressive, day after day. UK news stories that break mid-week have often been debated on Monday morning by the editorial team – and it’s been incredible to see just how on-the-pulse conversation, story ideas and forward planning at the FT is.

While much of my work here has been peripheral – ranging from research to writing timelines, boxes and short sidebars for the paper – I have been put to work on two longer stories for the summer season, one of which I pitched myself, which will hopefully get into the paper later in the month. I have checked ideas, drafts and sources with the editors, who have always been willing to help me out, calling in specialists from other sections of the paper, who have given me contacts and suggestions. There is a great spirit of collaboration at the FT that I haven’t experienced at other newspapers, which accentuates the friendly working environment and drives the ultimate success of the company.

It’s been a brilliant few weeks for me on the FT’s UK News desk, and I wish I could stay longer. I’ve met some inspiring people and had bylines in a paper I have always been in awe of.

My advice for future interns? Come armed with ideas, enthusiasm and a notepad – you’ll be expected to hit the ground running and won’t want to be under-prepared. You need a certain amount of current affairs awareness, but don’t worry about the financial specifics – it’s ok to ask questions along the way. Finally – throw yourself into it and don’t be afraid to give everything a go. I’ve talked to everyone from chief executives of major companies to an elderly couple living in rural Hampshire since I came to the FT, and my work here has given me confidence, conviction in my own ability and a burning desire to some day return to this inspirational place.


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20 September 2013 at 04:51  

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