FT World Desk by Julia Zhu

Thursday 28 February 2013

It’s my fourth week at the FT. With initial excitement and nervousness fading away, I’m gradually fitting into the working pace and feeling comfortable with the daily life here as an editorial intern.

I was assigned to the World News Desk where editors commission stories to our correspondents all over the world, edit and make the final call on which stories are going to the paper and which are going to the website. As of what I do on a daily basis, I help with reporting, editing, web production, graphics, slideshows, blogs and so much more. So far I’ve got two bylines on FT.com and two on the World blog. It all depends on the timing – we cannot control when news happens after all.

One thing I learned and am impressed since I came to the FT is the spirit of finding the truth. People here always say: “We are not the fastest, but we are always right.” One example would be when dozens of bodies were found in the Syrian city of Aleppo on January 29, my third day at the FT, when the Guardian had already put up more than 100 bodies were found, the editors at the FT insisted of waiting for a dependable direct source rather than a third party source which was used by everyone else. “We always confirm with our own correspondents and sources,” people here said.

The spirit is growing on me. Last Friday, I was working on a map showing countries affected by the horsemeat scandal. Apart from checking all the wires and news coverage, I contacted correspondents in different countries just to check if the supermarkets in their countries were influenced and making any moves. As a result, I discovered several countries that were not covered by any other media outlets are pulling products off the shelves in awake of the horsemeat scandal.

I spent hours on one single map that day, multiple edits and revisions and tweaks, the attention to details and the spirit of finding truth are among reasons why the FT is the best global business publication in the world.

FT Arts Desk by James Bullock

Monday 18 February 2013

An internship on the Arts Desk at the Financial Times is a brilliant opportunity to learn from, and to contribute to an exciting, progressive, working environment. I found that the days flew by.

From my first day I was immediately made to feel part of the team, not only by the friendly and welcoming atmosphere of the section (the team were always very generous with their time and advice, even when under pressure), but also because I had real responsibilities in the production of the arts pages. My jobs included: meticulous fact checking, proof reading and picture research (a vital part of the arts pages) as well as pitching ideas for the “Happening”, small event previews that go in the international edition of the paper. However, out of all of these duties, I learnt that fact checking is the most important because it is an essential part of maintaining the paper’s integrity and authority. Moreover, and importantly for any intern, fact-checking is also an absolutely crucial skill for anyone pursuing journalism as a career. I also found that I learnt a great deal about different aspects of art and culture just from checking and researching copy; my interests are weighted towards film, music and visual art but I came to have an increased appreciation of dance and drama from the copy that the FT’s critics submitted.

It is a very motivating experience to be a part of the efficient and dedicated production operation, but also feel like what I do, as an intern, is appreciated. There is a good balance between learning and working in the internship, I enjoyed the challenges and learning curve that came with learning about the house style of the FT and news writing more generally. One of my favourite parts of the internship was writing small TV Film reviews for the weekend paper which was an opportunity to research and present my own ideas; another highlight for me was being able to shadow the podcast recordings of Peter Aspden’s column. I can’t recommend enough making the most of opportunities to be involved with all aspects of the paper in both print and digital mediums.

For anyone wanting to pursue a career in journalism or arts the FT’s internship programme is an excellent place – in my case – to start, but an invaluable chance to learn and develop.