Financial Times Internship: My Review

Clare Dyckhoff at the FT's Southwark Bridge headquarters in London

Clare Dyckhoff at the FT’s Southwark Bridge headquarters in London

By Clare Dyckhoff (@cdyckhoff)

When I read that The Financial Times was offering internships for aspiring journalists, I immediately convinced myself it was not even worth applying. “My background is in travel, music, and lifestyle,” I mourned as I glanced at the coveted pink newspaper. Financial Times…me? Never.

Fast forward a few months, an MA in English and a CV submission later and I was on my way to Southwark Bridge, bubbling with excitement and nerves.

If my four-week internship at the Financial Times taught me anything, it is to ultimately take a risk, send that application and give it your best. Nothing ventured, nothing gained – my internship at The Financial Times’ award winning How To Spend It magazine is the best internship I have completed to date.

I’ve done my fair share of internships but I was surprised to find that the FT treated me as a member of the team, and not just ‘the intern.’ Four weeks is long enough to learn a lot; I was taught the basics of digital programmes such as InDesign and the FT’s content management system (CMS).

Every day was different. Some days I would be liaising with PR contacts for Louis Vuitton or luxury yacht makers, others I would be involved in the proofing of the magazine on its journey to print. My time at the FT gave me the confidence to say ‘yes’ to any task given to me, numerous members of the team supported me for the entire duration of my internship, and I was not spending all morning making tea for editors while lamenting my lack of learning.

The combination of having enough work to do and enough responsibility for the placement to be worthwhile is important, and I know lots of journalism internships struggle to fulfill this. My FT internship enabled me to network with the 20-strong team to the level that I dared, and allowed me to find out what I liked about journalism as well as the parts I don’t…and that is what an internship should be.

If you are considering interning with the Financial Times, I would recommend sending a CV and Covering Letter well in advance to avoid disappointment, and in most cases they prefer and even insist on choosing graduates. Ultimately, I learnt not to make assumptions about a newspaper or a franchise before giving it a chance, because I found my interests had a lot more in common with How To Spend It than I would have originally thought. So another lesson in journalism – stay open minded!

Four weeks is an idea length for an internship as it gives you the opportunity to settle in, establish contacts, and get to grips with the work given without things becoming stale. The FT provides its interns with travel and lunch expenses of up to £50 per week, which is a step in the right direction.

If you’re reading this and wondering “maybe I should apply” then I implore you to consider it. The small, internal scream of joy when reading your ‘@ft.com’ emails really makes interning there worth it.

Have you had an internship experience you would like to share? Get in touch by email if you would like to blog for us, or drop us a line on Twitter, @JournoGrads

 

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