On not holding your tongue: the Life & Arts internship by Celia White

Friday, 27 August 2010

They say first impressions are everything. How about presenting to your Editor on your first day an image of a cow’s head with its tongue ripped out and hanging next to it on a hook? Needless to say this image, the fruit of my first bit of picture research, was deemed too repulsive to grace the front page of Life & Arts; but I believe the effort, not to mention the sentiment, was appreciated.

This may not give you a well-rounded idea of the role of an intern working for the Life and Arts section, but this may not be possible in any case given the range of tasks. Alongside proofreading, fact-checking and picture research, interns also liaise with the agents of potential authors, maintain lists of upcoming events and book launches, pitch ideas for sidebars and short features and carry out research for longer articles. Sitting in on scheduling meetings gives interns exposure to the inner workings of the paper. I have also learned to ‘tweet’, a verb which I never thought would apply to my daily experience, but which is in fact an interesting and crucial part of FT marketing.

The broad remit of Life & Arts means that you could be looking into anything: the traditional versus the modern fairytale; the specifics of recipes in the Moomins Cookbook; the concept of ‘slow’ literature (a project which is, ironically, taking a while). It’s an interesting and exciting role, with plenty of involvement and friendly colleagues that guide and advise you as well as praising when it’s due, and who make the most of your skills so that you always feel you’re contributing to the paper in a substantial way.


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