Special Reports by Matthew Pountney

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

I reached the decision to become a journalist last year and the editorial internship with the Special Reports desk of the FT was my first experience of working for a newspaper. From the moment it began two weeks ago, I have enjoyed every moment and, I hope, made the most of this opportunity to understand how the FT operates.

After the tour on the first day, my new colleagues welcomed me to the team and I began work on some research and writing on the state of the UK economy. This was quite involved – some (basic) number crunching using government statistics, contacting banks for comments on the piece and locating strong facts to back these statements up.

The next few days allowed a mixture of editing, proofreading, fact checking, arranging interviews and identifying possible interviewees. I even went to track down some props for a photo-shoot for the front cover of a new report. Everything, including the more basic tasks, came with a salient lesson which will no doubt help me as I build my career in journalism.

In my second week, a real privilege: a piece I had written was published in a special report. I was very lucky to get something in print in the FT and I am grateful to the team for this chance.

There were moments when things were quiet, but these gave me time to learn more about the FT and the work of the Special Reports team. I also had the opportunity to talk to my colleagues – all of whom were journalists – and to obtain their career advice and shadow them in their day-to-day roles.

I would recommend this internship to anybody who is pondering a similar path. Self-starting was key but people at the FT were unfailingly welcoming and happy to help and to answer questions.


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