My time at the FT by Padraig Moran

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

By some stroke of luck, I arrived at the FT in what seemed to be the middle of birthday season. For anyone unfortunate enough to work somewhere joyless, like a Cormac McCarthy novel, this meant cake. Lots of cake. Cake everyday in fact, and sometimes twice.

I must admit, it was a nice start to what’s been an enjoyable few weeks. Granted, there were moments when I’d wonder if this was some elaborate plan to fatten up the intern, or the FT building itself was actually made of gingerbread. My fears were unfounded though.

Safe in the knowledge I wasn’t to be Hanselled or Gretelled, the first couple of weeks went by in a blur of fact checking and free frosting. I worked on the Life and Arts desk, ranging from admin work to pitching and writing small side panels.

It was my first time at a national paper, so the experience has been invaluable, from seeing how ideas are commissioned to finally getting copy on the page. Friends had joked I was destined to be a coat rack cum coffee tray, subject to the delightfully cruel whims of some maniac too important suffer my existence, but nothing could be further from the truth. The work was interesting, and just the right side of challenging. Moreover, the encouragement and support I received was wonderful, and I learned a huge amount in a relatively short space of time.

I was lucky enough to be seated right by the editors, so I got to eavesdrop on pretty much everything that came across the desk. That, in itself, was brilliant, and gave me a great insight into the thought process that goes into putting the Weekend together. If I had any advice for anyone coming in to do an internship, it’d be to leave your headphones at home. Keep your eyes and ears open and you’ll pick up a lot more than you expected. And try not to get too many crumbs in the keyboard. The IT guys hate that.


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