FT Special Reports by Rebeka Shaid

Thursday, 29 September 2011

I had walked past the rather grand FT building many times, wondering what was going on behind the dark tinted glass windows. So when I arrived for my first day as an intern with the Special Reports desk, I didn’t really know what to expect. I had heard good and bad things about internships at big, international newspapers so I was, admittedly, a bit of a nervous wreck as I was waiting in the reception area. In fact, I felt like a lost sheep. But the moment I was met by the lovely editorial assistant who herded me and another intern through the maze-like corridors, showing us the various busy and buzzing desks, I completely forgot about my worries.

After this little sightseeing tour of the offices, I then embarked on a quite intense training session, which gave me a fascinating insight to Methode 4, the FT’s content management system. And once my lunch break was over, I finally got to sit with the Special Reports team on the second floor. Everybody I met there was very welcoming and the first task I was given basically consisted of editing, fact checking and proofreading one of the ‘Women at the Top’ blogs. Before I knew it, my first day was already over. Since then I have not only made good use of the coffee and tea facilities, but I’ve also gained a real understanding of what life at the FT is really like. Attending the daily conference meetings is certainly a highlight as you get to witness the editors discussing big stories in the making. Oh, and being given an FT email address is also a big plus - it gives you a strange feeling of empowerment!

It’s still early days for me, but the one thing I have noticed right from the beginning of my internship is that interns here are treated as members of the team. You can expect to be given real responsibility and your work load is likely to vary from day to day. For instance, I would spend one day researching enterprise zones and tax breaks, another contacting and calling up entrepreneurs, sending out press requests, chasing up PR officers, editing articles, or working on the ‘Women at the Top’ blog. At the moment I am managing the production of various interactive graphics that are going to be put up online shortly, so liaising with design editors and picture editors is really important. It’s also really exciting that I get to write short introductions that are going to be published soon! There are, of course, some less stimulating tasks to be completed, but overall, my experience as an intern at the FT has been really positive. You’re thrown into the deep end and the internship is really what you make of it.


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