FT Weekend Magazine by Tina Nandha

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Having experienced the trauma of Bank during the morning rush for the first time, I walked the short distance from the station to the FT’s very serious-looking Southwark Bridge offices for another daunting first-my first day as an intern at the Weekend Magazine. I was greeted by a friendly editorial assistant, who took me on a tour of the FT offices and gave me a mini-tutorial on how the newspaper is put together. At the end of tour came a chance to observe the morning conference, where the heads of the different desks come together with Lionel Barber to run through what will be in the following day’s paper. Next, I was taken to the Magazine desk to meet the team and settle in. Once armed with my new FT email address, I was ready to get to work.

At the Magazine, ‘work’ can mean anything from fact-checking Tim Harford’s latest Undercover Economist column to attending a brainstorming meeting about possible writers and interviewees for the coming year. Each week peaks on Wednesday with the slightly frantic excitement of going to press. On this day it’s all hands on deck to comb through every inch of copy for mistakes. This, providing you’re a bit of a pedant and like to read, is hardly a chore.

Everyone at the Weekend Magazine is happy to help a new recruit learn the ropes and, when the inevitable career-envy kicks in, people will even take a moment to talk about how they got to where they are today. It’s a relatively small group, which means you get to know everyone, including the commissioning editors, and get a sense of how all aspects of the magazine come together. Though there can be a lot of things to think about at once, as long as you stay organised (as far as I’m concerned, the power of lists is infinite) you can keep on top of everything. Remarkably quickly, the previously intimidating offices start to feel like home.

Although there is some administrative work involved, an internship here offers much more than the life of full-time photocopying and coffee-making I’ve often been warned to expect. It’s an opportunity to learn a lot. Mining the wisdom of the team has already taught me many things; I’ve learnt, among other things and in no particular order, how exactly to go about pitching for a particular section, what constitutes a thorough fact-check and which is the best kebab shop in Kentish Town.


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