FT Beyondbrics by David Andani

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

I was eased into my FT internship with an invitation to the morning editorial meeting 10 minutes after arriving on my first day. Seeing Lionel Barber and other senior editors setting the agenda for the newspaper was a real privilege.

I was on the Beyondbrics desk - a desk blogging the latest market news from emerging and frontier economies. I had a variety of tasks throughout the internship including, initially, formatting and fact-checking and later, subbing and some writing of my own.

The first thing that stood out to me about the FT was the expertise and specialist knowledge of the journalists. Whatever the story or angle there will be an expert on the topic somewhere in the building. Need to know any intricacies regarding hedge funds? No problem - speak to the hedge fund buff. It gets far more niche than that. I recall a colleague writing an article on an Asian emerging market airline and seeking more in-depth information. He managed to locate a colleague who had spent years in the region studying that very topic.

I knew prior to my internship how highly the FT is regarded, but experiencing this first hand was quite remarkable. I researched a takeover story concerning a large US organisation on the day the deal was announced. I asked the press office if there was anybody I could speak to and was understandably told this may be difficult as senior personnel were in meetings all day. Five minutes later I received a call from a senior representative who gushed: “We love the FT here – we read it every day.” There were endless examples of this. For another story on a multinational company, I asked to speak to the company’s press office. My request was turned down. Instead I was offered the opportunity to speak to the CEO of the company’s Asia-Pacific operations.

Overall my internship at the FT was a truly memorable experience where I gained an invaluable insight into the culture and ethos of a world-class organisation and had the opportunity to meet some great people and journalists. And the best feeling? Googling my name at the end of the internship and discovering that the search results were no longer filled with myriad entries of my social networking exploits, but instead, links to articles written to me on the FT website. Amazing.


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