Books/ House & Home by Izabella Scott

Thursday 20 January 2011

The chequered edifice of the Financial Times office is rather intimidating, but upon entering it emits, instead, an enlivening energy. Warmly greeted by William Gregory, I was given a meticulous tour of the relevant floors, in which clusters of desks sit in rigorous formation – elevated signposts declare: World News, Lexicon, FTfm. The atmosphere? Minimal; efficient; respectful; a well-oiled media machine; a very tight ship. The tour concluded with the morning conference, chaired by Lionel Barber, signifying the high level of involvement an FT internship provides; it was difficult not to feel at the very centre of the paper’s production.

Having embarked on a series of internships, the inevitable path of any aspiring journalist, I had an idea of what to expect; however I was surprised by the immediate participation that was asked of me. Seated amongst the Books section editors, I was promptly asked to cast a careful eye through an expert essay, this week a discussion of a recent trend: the cravings of the collective imagination for military fiction. This was followed by exercises in fact-checking; the pursuit of precision and accuracy is at the centre of the FT, and tasks like these, while at times tedious, come with a high level of responsibility.

Having completed only two days of my internship, I feel I have already taken part, in a small way, to the production of FT Weekend. From tweeting for House & Home, to researching future book reviews, tasks are constant and varied. I have encountered an inclusiveness which reaches beyond my assigned desk: hesitantly replying to an FT events email, offering an evening talk by Lionel Barber and the chance to mix with other colleagues (is this really for an intern?), I received a warm reply of assurance: "Of course – see you there."

It will undoubtedly be an exciting and insightful two months. Any internship, of course, is what you make it, but at the FT there is a real opportunity to learn from skilled and welcoming colleagues.