Alan Rappeport, a reporter for the Financial Times in New York, was sponsored by the foundation as a graduate student at the London School of Economics and later joined The Economist as a Marjorie Deane intern. Here, he looks back at his experience in London.
My Marjorie Deane experience started in the summer of 2006, just as whispers were growing louder that America´s housing market bubble was about to burst. I had just completed a post graduate degree at the London School of Economics, sponsored by Marjorie´s foundation, and was anxiously excited to see how my new knowledge would translate into financial journalism. Even more, I wanted to meet the anonymous scribes behind my favourite magazine—or newspaper, as I quickly learnt.
I spent much of my first day in awe of the view from my office in The Economist building and wondering how I got there, less than two years removed from reporting on local news at a small paper in New Jersey. Without a true beat, I combed the web for quirky story ideas, and found myself writing about everything from the emergence of an online “Pigou” club that was pushing for higher petrol taxes to the World Bank´s foray into faith programmes in emerging markets and the demise of the Leica camera. One week I even grilled Alan Krueger, a famous economist, about the finer points of instrumental variables.
But the best part of the internship was my colleagues. I shared an office with the media editor, who was an aggressive reporter and handled sources better than anyone I´d ever met. The scholarly economics correspondent down the hall taught me more about the dismal science than I had gathered during my time at the LSE. And my editors always managed to turn my wordy American-style copy into elegant prose, infusing it with that Olympian tone I could not always muster. By the end of my stint I felt at home at The Economist, even sharing a pot of tea with its editor while discussing the Leicester City football club. (No small task for someone whose definition of football features first downs and field goals.)
Four years later, I use skills I picked up that summer every day. As a writer for the Financial Times in New York I´ve got a different view now, reporting on the aftermath of the financial crisis and a fragile economic recovery. Thanks to the Marjorie Deane Financial Journalism Foundation, I´ve been well prepared to cover the story.
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