FT Life and Arts by Emily Kent-Smith

Friday, 13 January 2012

Whilst making my way to my internship interview I was reminded of some wise Shakespearean words: ‘The course of true love never did run smooth’. In my case the appropriate quote was: ‘the course of getting to an interview never did run smooth’.

I arrived at Paddington after what should have been a 90 minute journey wearing
a white shirt tie-dyed with coffee stains. I rushed to M&S to buy a (panic purchase)
replacement outfit and then bundled myself in a taxi for Southwark bridge. On the dot
of 12.30, my designated interview time, the taxi driver was slowly approaching the
bridge. ‘One Southwark Bridge doesn’t exist. How far is it from the FT?’ I looked up
and felt rather foolish, the letters F and T were staring me in the face and I realised
that this building was clearly quite the London landmark.

Weeks later, I began my internship on the Life & Arts desk except this time I skipped
the coffee and strode along the bridge feeling elated that the glass building ahead
would be my place of work for the next month.

I was greeted by an Assistant who instantly made me feel at home. Not one detail was
omitted; I was shown where every team sat, taught how to top up my canteen card and
even instructed on how the hot water machine worked.

I was then taken to conference where each editor pitches topics for the next day’s
paper whilst Lionel Barber oversees proceedings and comments on areas that are
excelling and others that need improving. All in all, a fast-paced and awe-inspiring
start to my internship.

I was then allocated a desk for the next month and made to feel at home. Thanks to the Assistant's explanations and a one-on-one training session where I was taught how to
use ‘Methode’, the system where the entirety of the newspaper comes together, I was
saved the embarrassment of constantly quizzing my editor.

By the first afternoon, my internship had kick-started. I have now been here two
weeks and, clichéd as it may sound, every day has been different. Life & Arts is so varied
that I can be researching the Dukan diet one day and Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy
Carter’s advisor, the next. Duties can involve fact-checking, proof-reading, tweeting
and administrative duties such as organising my editor’s post and compiling a
schedule of upcoming events.

I can honestly say that whether filing an invitation or carrying out a research project,
I always learn something along the way. Who knew that a silk garment had been
created entirely by spiders? Who could name all of Brangelina’s children? Not I.

I feel at ease amongst my team and am consistently given the opportunity to attend
exhibitions or film screenings. I am certain that the next few weeks will be just as
educational and I feel confident that I will leave the FT wiser and even more inspired
to succeed in a career in journalism.


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