A day on Lex by Maria Sovago

Thursday 24 February 2011

When the financial crisis hit, I was working at ABN AMRO in Amsterdam. Following the FT was the most important source about peers and the market at the time. We were "living in Financial Times.”

One term of the MA Financial Journalism course of City University later…I am working in the heart of the prestigious paper.

As the Lex column’s witty content and voice have always been an inspiration for both my analytical thinking and my writing style, and I usually start reading the FT on their back page, I wanted to join the elite club of the Lex writers. To meet the human faces behind the influential column.

“They’re geniuses,” several colleagues “warned” me.

I’ve discovered one of the secrets behind the sharpness of the Lex team: They know that a “healthy mind is a healthy body”. No skipping breakfast. The mornings start in the canteen, with family-like conversation around the breakfast table: Who is going to do what today? With their finger on the pulse of the latest news, in come the related story ideas, and
their insightful and often humorous angle evolves.

Back to the first floor, John Authers and Edward Hadas are warming up for the video of the day. Conversation is flying back and forth above the separation panel between their desks. The controversies around the Volcker-rule.

Connections and sources are important assets of a journalist. One of my colleague slips out to meet an old friend in the lunch break, the chairman of a big bank.

A more subdued concentration sets in: 300 words per piece, to raise attention to an interesting angle, to comment, to analyse, to challenge and to entertain.

To be able to contribute to Lex you need to be financially literate. I’m entrusted to scan an analyst note estimating the capitalisation needs of the Spanish cajas.

“That is exactly what I needed.” Richard Stovin-Bradford thanks me.

It was my pleasure.


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