FT House & Home by Daisy Wyatt

Monday 17 September 2012

I have been involved in the editorial process from the first day of my internship, whether fact-checking, interviewing people on the phone or managing social media.
My main responsibility has been fact-checking, something that the FT deems integral to its high quality output. It is a job that requires a lot of thoroughness and at times can be hard-going, but I have been intrigued by some of the facts I have come across- such as the number of Japanese people who own toilets that play classical music.

I have also been in charge of the Twitter account, tasked with writing some provoking tweets, as well as trying to increase the number of House & Home followers.

The team on the section is small, and luckily there haven’t been many moments where I have been left with nothing to do. I have felt valued as an intern, which can be a rare experience.

I would recommend the FT internship programme. It is well organised so you are not left at your desk feeling like a lemon because nobody knows who you are. The editorial assistants make you feel at home and give you all the information you need on the first day, before introducing you to your section.

The food in the canteen is also a real perk.

FT Life and Arts by Kitty Teague

Monday 10 September 2012

Of all the advice I have received from journalists when I tell them that theirs is my chosen career path, the main piece is this: to get your foot in the door, you must do as many internships at different media outlets as possible. Yet at the same time the media has highlighted an ongoing debate about the value of internships in any field and whether they confer any lasting benefit. So what’s the aspiring journalist to do?

I may have sat slightly awkwardly on the fence of this argument before, but I would now say that an internship of the quality of the FT Life and Arts Desk is undeniably worth doing.

I say this for several reasons. I have found a day in the life of an FT intern enjoyable and educational. Enjoyable because I get to spend several hours each day researching topics which are new and interesting. From this research I am asked to put forward ideas for the next edition of the paper. Humble as these suggestions are, I love being allowed to pitch and develop my thoughts in this way.

It is also hugely educational because of the involvement I have had in the editorial process. At various editorial meetings I have glimpsed how an article is developed from inception to its final printed version. I have been taught how to use the software on which each contributor works, and have been shown how this connects to a live forum which allows each FT journalist to see the paper taking shape. Witnessing the progression from a scattering of drafted pages to a finished broadsheet documenting the week’s most current, exciting and high profile cultural themes is a fascinating experience. No longer will I idly assume that a newspaper manages to just come together nicely.

On top of this, each day at the FT has given me something else. It has emphasised the importance of credibility, and how essential it is for a newspaper to earn and keep the trust of its readership. A typical daily task is that of fact checking. Being asked to interrogate every single word, number and grammatical detail of an article not only brings a great deal of satisfaction but provides the most basic lesson that every aspiring journalist needs to learn and remember.

For these reasons (and also because the canteen is really quite nice), I would urge anyone with similar career aspirations to do the internship at the FT.

FT Special Reports by Hesham Zakai

Thursday 6 September 2012

Approaching the Financial Times building on the day I would begin my internship was a surprisingly calm experience. All the nerves I had felt in the run-up to my start date had dissipated and were supplanted by excitement and an enthusiasm to do my best. They momentarily returned as I arrived at the entrance and looked up at the imposing building before me, but a calm tour of the floors and a modicum of bureaucracy later I was more ready than I had ever been.

The FT has daily editorial news conferences usually chaired by the editor, Lionel Barber, which is a fantastic experience for aspiring journalists. I was able to witness how the news editors reflect on the issue just published and outline the agenda and key stories for the next edition.

Next, I was taken by an editorial assistant to the Special Reports desk where I would be working. I was welcomed by the editor who introduced me to the team and laid out the basic framework for the internship. I immediately felt at ease and ready for my gentle start – a gentle start which didn’t come. I was asked to read an article and then conceptualise and commission an illustration for it. It was an exciting, if challenging, task and I got to work immediately, brainstorming various directions the illustration could go in and then sourcing illustrators.

At every stage the editor, when needed, gave me direction and the team made me feel welcome and valued.

The days that followed continued in largely the same vein and my tasks ranged from proofreading and fact-checking to researching entrepreneurs and writing an article on investment for one of the FT’s supplements.

As interns, we are assigned an editorial assistant who provides pastoral and administrative support and just generally tries to help us in any way they can.

The whole experience is invaluable, and I would certainly encourage others to apply. If nothing else, the top-floor restaurant has delicious food at low prices, complemented by a great view!

FT Fashion by Averlyn Lim

Tuesday 4 September 2012

I worked as an intern for the Fashion desk of Financial Times for two weeks and it was one of the best experiences I have had. Despite only being there for 10 days, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I managed to learn.

As an intern I was given many opportunities to participate in producing pieces published on the Financial Times Style pages. My duties as a fashion intern included fact checking each and every article written by the fashion team thoroughly, liaising with PR companies to obtain high resolution photos and uploading the Luxury 360 webpage each morning with stories of the day. I worked with the Deputy Fashion Editor in London and liaised with the Fashion Editor in NY as well as the production and picture editors. I was also given the chance to attend a news conference and experience first-hand some of the discussions they have with the Editor-in-chief of the FT.

My first week was a bit different compared to my previous internships because the Deputy Editor was away when I started. But she spoke to the Life & Arts department to ensure everyone knew about me and the team was very helpful and friendly in making sure I was comfortable.

If you think working for the FT may seem intimidating, dismiss that thought now! It was a fantastic work environment and probably one of the best there is. My internship at the FT has definitely helped me towards working my way in the fashion industry.

FT Special Reports by Judit Szilak

Andy Sachs was told numerous times that “a million girls would kill for this job”. Though my boss was no devil, either of the Prada-wearing or the regular hooves-and-horns kind, I know exactly how Andy felt.

Stepping through the doors of the Financial Times, armed with my newly minted pass, I couldn’t quite believe my luck that I would get to intern at a globally relevant title like this. Especially as I have an academic background in the humanities, not economics.

On my first day, the editorial assistants had me fill out some forms then we were off to attend the conference. For the next two weeks I got to sit in on the morning conferences every day. I took it so seriously that usually I was the first one to arrive, so much so, that it prompted on of the Editor’s to ask “”Who are you?”

The conference was a marvel in itself. All the editors lined up around the table, and either the editor, the deputy editor, or the managing editor was running the show. He would invariably start by looking at that day’s paper and giving feedback on what he was pleased with or, alternatively, what could have been done better. The screen on the wall showed the FT website and someone would point to the sections under discussion.

Then one by one, the editors would give a short summary of what they are working on that day, while the editor commented or asked for clarifications here or there. I was basically getting the headlines of the next day’s paper, like when breaking news run across the crawlies on television.

After the very first conference, one of the assistants gave me a tour of the FT’s open space offices, complete with running commentary of who did what and when, and how it all appeared in the different editions of the daily paper. I was getting the inside scoop!

Finally we arrived at my destination on the second floor, where I met the lovely Special Reports team, and I was shown to my desk, received my log in details, and, best of all, my very own FT email address. I arrived.

The first job I was given was to research some fun facts about F1 Williams Team owner Sir Frank Williams, and write a bullet-pointed profile on him. The next few days I even got to see the finished copy, because I was asked to fact-check and proof-read it.

I did a vox pop about risk management, asking CEOs of British companies with revenues between £150 million and £500 million about their thoughts on risk management. After some prompting and clarifications, people tended to be helpful and talkative. I also researched and compiled some statistics about risk management.

The biggest job for the duration of my internship was researching and writing 200-word school profiles for the FT’s piece on the Top 1000 Schools in Britain.

There were no coffee runs. Andy Sachs, eat your heart out.