Whilst in London Becca, Chloe and myself went to The Times for a guided tour of News International by Jon Hill, the design editor. We tagged along with some graphics students for who the tour had been organised but Jon had said we were welcome to come.
The News International offices were really impressive, though not overly busy, as I would have expected. This was probably due to the lovely weather and the fact it was mid afternoon! Anyway, we were taken up to the first of two floors that The Times occupy and from here you could see right down the middle of the building. Jon pointed out which floors The Sun is on and also where The News of the World used to be (that floor was dark and empty which was pretty funny!).
We then walked around all the different departments such as sport, travel and world news. It was really interesting to see all the reporters working on their pieces and impressive how slick the 'machine' of The Times was. Everyone had huge computer screens which you could see the layout of the newspaper on and lots of research and past newspapers littered the desks. We also got to see the large offices of the editor and deputy editor which had the best view in the building overlooking the Thames.
As we were walking round Jon pointed out a little office that the in-house illustrator works in. Unfortunately she wasn't there, which was a shame, but it was nice to see how an illustrator fitted into the system of things. We did, however, see the in-house cartoonist working on his latest drawing. He had a much bigger office than the illustrator but this was to be expected as he is an established political artist that is well recognised.
We then came to the design section which was a lot bigger than I expected, it was larger than a few of the other departments. The designers all had big Macs (of course!) but didn't have much of a desk space - but I suppose the majority of work is done on the computer.
Jon also gave us a sneak peak at a special office designated to the Olympics. Here they have mocked up loads of articles and front covers which cover all eventualities. They had one for if Usain Bolt wins, if Chris Hoy loses and so forth! They also had lots of charts and diagrams which will go in the newspaper every day of the games - they're so prepared it's untrue!
At the end of the tour we had hoped Jon might take a look at our portfolios but unfortunately he had hinted he was really busy so we felt rude to ask. I think it would be more convenient for him if we emailed him and he'd probably be able to take more time over it. Despite that, it was a great tour which was extremely insightful. Working at a newspaper is not something I would choose to do (it looks too pressured and hectic) but it was great to see the professionals at work.