Vault Q&A: Correspondent, Reuters
Title: Energy correspondent - "I cover the foreign oil and gas companies, as well as pipelines and the politics that is associated with these issues. I research the companies and the stories, report on financial markets and cover local and international news. I am mainly focused on the non-Russian companies that are here such as Shell, BP and Exxonmobil."
Number of years at firm: one year
Number of years in current role: Two weeks. I joined the graduate programme a year ago. The first two months involved classroom training. Here we learned how to write in the Reuters style and how to develop a news judgment as to what stories are newsworthy and what are not. I then had two weeks in the two villages, trying to find stories. After this, I went on a rotation of all the main news desks in Reuters headquarters in London. These are: equities, energy, television, world news, financial and sport.
Degree(s): BA (2.1) and MA in Russian Studies at University College London
How did you first decide to enter your industry? What first attracted you?
I love to speak languages, I love to travel and I love to write. Therefore, becoming a correspondent with Reuters seemed to tie all three passions together. I was attracted to Reuters as it is a very prestigious company with a very international reputation.
What are the typical education requirements? What skills and/or experience are important for success?
You need to be degree-educated but it doesn't matter what field it is in. As for skills, I would say having good communication skills. It is also important to have a good general knowledge of what is going on in the world in terms of society, politics and economics. You need to be a good writer, which means being concise, accurate and being able to add colour to what might seem to be a mundane story.
When dealing with big companies, I have learned to know your limits and not be too pushy. It is often good to give them advice and to set up a trade of information so that they are more willing to talk to you.
What is the typical career path in your industry?
As a graduate, you will be expected to spend some time in a couple of bureaus around the world, working in different areas. The position above me is a senior correspondent. In this position, you would have a team, manage other correspondents. Other responsibilities include being in charge of the news that the bureau puts out and making sure that the bureau is always ahead of our competitors. The next step would be becoming a bureau chief. The bureau chief runs everything in their bureau, is in charge of administration, recruiting correspondents and being ultimately responsible for the news output of the bureau.
What is the best part of your job?
I would say the traveling and getting to meet interesting people. Also, as a journalist, I get to do things and go places that would normally be shut to me. I attend meetings with important people and get to interview established figures in society. These include people like the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone and the artists Gilbert and George. In 2006, I attended London Fashion Week and got talk to people such as Vivienne Westwood and Naomi Campbell about their collections and their plans for the coming year.
What is your least favourite part of your job?
Having to be aware of what is going on all of the time. It is vital that I read everything and keep my ears open. This is very demanding but I manage to make things a bit easier for myself by having lot of good contacts.
How relevant is your education to what you are doing today?
Not too relevant as I studied literature. But I would say the language helped a lot and also traveling a lot with my classmates during my year abroad. During this time, I traveled all over Russia. This time helped enormously as when I now write about Russia, I feel that I can write with much more confidence.
Can you offer any advice to graduates seeking a career in your industry?
It is very important to be keen and to be well-read. It is also vital to have an understanding of the major players in the world and who the main drivers behind political situations are. Experience is definitely good to have on your side. Get involved in any student newspapers that your university has and try to get as many internships as you can. Read a lot and do a lot of writing. Keep writing as it is the only way that you'll learn how to write professionally. Don't get too bogged down when your work is heavily edited. It is just something that you have to accept, so don't take it personally!
What is something unusual that they might not know?
As a graduate, you have more responsibility that you might actually think. I got thrown into the deep end quite early. I did not think I would be doing as much work as I did, but it turned out to be great.
What is your best perk?
I would say getting to see your copy go around the world and be read in other different countries. It is also exciting to see which websites and newspapers are picking up on the stories that you have written and to see that you are having an impact on the world.