A View From the Bridge by Jonathan Moses

Monday, 4 October 2010

I first realise I’m working at the FT when I enter Mahmood’s newsagents on a cold Saturday morning. This is not because the last two weeks weren’t spent at the office, researching, fact-checking and proof-reading, but because a strange name has appeared in this weekend’s edition: my own. Mahmood, remarkably oblivious, hands over the goods.

Week by week I uncover more and more alien artefacts in an otherwise smooth operation. Small biographies, travel details; lists and edits – everything touched by my hand feels like a mistake. Will Self describes writing primarily as an overwhelming sense of inadequacy - and the less you’ve written, the greater the inadequacy. I remember awakening the night before my first university article to haunted replays of contrived sentences, and imagine this paranoia must take some time to overcome at a national (and international) level.

Unlike the student press however, there’s a whole machinery in place to reign in misplaced enthusiasms, dodgy facts and stodgy sentences; a machine which, as an intern, you play a small but important part. Badly transcribed website addresses and dodgy apostrophes soon become life-affirming challenges, each a testament to your worth and ability. I’m even intrigued when my own duff phrases are politely reshaped by the editors… “I’ve just tightened it up a little…”

Those disposed to perceive the internship industry as a variant of post-modern slavery will at least be comforted to know nothing demeaning is in store – sometimes; people even bring you the tea. Even rarer, that consigning a month of unemployment support to oblivion is recompensed with skills contributing to your own life, not just your boss’s. And then there’s the free film screenings (at a Mayfair hotel, no less - “Are you reviewing this film?” “Well… I suppose I am…”)

Like many others who graduated this June only to find themselves heralded “the lost generation”, I entered post-degree life with a heavy heart and a bleak outlook. From the top floor of FT HQ, the view is becoming a little brighter.


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