Observer, day 1: In Awe


First thing’s first – everyone said (well, online reviews said) that a Chromebook was absolutely useless offline. And yet here I am! Sat on the 18:44 from Kings Cross to Kings Lynn, typing away on an offline google docs document! Take that world. Put that in your technological pipe and vape it.

Another day, another internship. It’s been great to slide into another awesome office building and pretend that it’s my own. This one comes equipped with open-plan desks, readily accessibly iMacs, loads of glass – I’m talking serious sunlight potential – a canteen to rival LSE’s, and some more trendy people in glasses. From where I sat in the waiting room that isn’t really a waiting room, I could see a whole host of impressive items: 60s style overhanging lights, wooden wall fittings, a huge interactive screen that was displaying the latest headlines. Intellectually, I know that it’s ridiculous to place any value in meaningless commodities like fancy light fittings. But as a consumer that loves nice things, and as one that just spent 2 months working in a magazine dealing exclusively in nice things, I got a pretty sweet kick out of the whole aesthetic experience.


As I was being shown around the building I walked past a room at the top of the stairs on the first floor teeming with people of all shapes and sizes. This is how that whole situation went:

Me: ‘What’s going on in there?’

‘It’s the daily Guardian conference. And Benedict Cumberbatch is in there’

Me: ‘Oh, cool. NBD’.

Well, that’s kind of how it went. I maybe-sort-of snuck back once the conference was over to peer in and see Sherlock in the flesh. He caught my gaze and nodded sagely, insinuating that we were one and the same.

Kind of.

I’m working for the Observer’s new monthly Tech Supplement, which makes the team a bit of an oddity in the building. The Observer, being a weekly publication, is already somewhat removed from the hubbub of the daily news cycle that grips the Guardian – and the Tech Supplement compounds that fourfold, being released only once a month. One of the guys I’m working with fondly related the pseudo-Fleet Street vibes that hang around the old guard on the subs desk to me, with a playful resentment of the fact that they have to push themselves against the wall every Friday to get the paper in on time. The whole ‘neck 5 pints and smoke until you cannae smoke no more’ atmosphere lingers to a certain extent amongst newsrooms, but it doesn’t filter across to a longform monthly supplement. And I guess that’s just how it is.

I’ve been allowed to write and conduct interviews from the get-go, so this is shaping up to be good fun. It’s not a super long situation – the ‘placement’ is two weeks – but it should be an enjoyable and educationable sejour. Plus it happens to take place in my favourite city, AND in my favourite newspaper, AND in a cool building. I’m almost envious of myself.

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