This summer Eric Monkman spent three months as an intern at The Economist’s offices in London, supported by the Marjorie Deane Financial Journalism Foundation. Here he reminisces about how he came to apply for the internship and what his experiences at The Economist were like.
The original Bagehot once admonished us not to “let in daylight upon magic.” He was referring to the monarchy, but his words could apply to anything impressive and mysterious. I have long been impressed by The Economist’s team of anonymous journalists and editors. There was a mysterious quality to how they consistently produced an interesting and informative weekly summary of the world’s events. Indeed, I suspect The Economist achieves this effect in part through its lack of bylines and its consistent “voice”.
As a curious reader, I decided to defy Bagehot and find out how The Economist does it. (After all, he also said “The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do”). Thinking it would be fun to work for a newspaper that I take so much pleasure in reading, I applied for the Marjorie Deane internship, not expecting that I would get it. And I didn’t. I had to apply several times before even getting on the shortlist, and then once more before finally learning that all my efforts had finally paid off. I was accepted for the position, beginning in August 2017 and working until the end of October.
I can say that, in this case, “letting in daylight” did not lead to disappointment. I was impressed by the level of thought and research that went into the production of articles. It was a joy to attend and take part in the regular discussions about what positions The Economist should take and what should be included in the paper were a joy to attend. Best of all was the friendliness and warmth I received from my colleagues. They helped me develop as a writer and remain my good friends.
I would like to thank Marjorie Deane and her namesake foundation for giving the opportunity to work at The Economist.
You can also read more about Eric Monkman’s time at The Economist on the newspaper’s blog on Medium.