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.

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