My first week working for the Financial Times has run so fast even Usain Bolt would not catch it if he were on steroids.
On the first day I went from a laid-back, informative tour of the FT as a brand and workplace straight into the World Production desk in the space of a few hours.
Clearly, our rota in the newsroom was well thought-out. This first week has enabled me see the writing-style, research and pain-staking editing that goes into the paper firsthand. This has ensured I have a deeper knowledge of the news strategy and editorial standard of the paper.
Looking through news copy I was asked to practice on pages that were being sub-edited, which would later be compared with the original finished product. I was surprised when a question I raised on a piece was taken to the writer and editor. They were very happy to hear my opinion, and thanked me for my input. I found practice-subbing so enjoyable that the boss had to kick me out of the newsroom by night-time.
In the next few days I went from practicing on printed pages to dummy pages on the computer. I shadowed the page-planners, and attended desk and conference meetings where I saw the continuous changes being made to suit news stories as they broke.
On my fifth day, I volunteered to help with some research which would go into graphics for a breaking story. My suggestions were not only taken on board, I got two appreciative emails from my superiors after that task was accomplished.
My last day on the World Production desk still feels surreal; a senior colleague greeted me at work with a copy of the paper; the story I helped with on the previous day had an “additional reporting by Ruona Agbroko” written on it at the bottom.
To further reinforce Pearson plc’s commitment to us as interns, each of us has a mentor—journalists or editors who have kindly agreed to help us during our time in the newsroom.
The people at the FT are genuinely nice and willing to help you develop even though they see you as an equal capable of contributing to the editorial strength of the newspaper.
I was also pleasantly surprised to discover there are culinary rewards to working in the FT apart from coffee and tea; every Thursday the newsroom gives literal meaning to the phrase “let them eat cake”. The huge slices of delicious sponge provided not just nourishment but a nice talking point with other colleagues.
And speaking of food, I must add that of course there was tea-making involved. Only at Financial Times, the interns don’t make the tea—some senior colleagues are nice enough to ask them instead: “would you like a cup of tea?”
I could get used to this…don’t wake me up.