Concordia Winter 2023

Georgia, where I was to stay for at least a week, and which I was reliably informed had no connection to electricity, never mind internet. With the deadline for the task only three days away, I arrived in the “capital” of Tusheti, a village called Omalo (population: 37). Organised students as we were, we had not booked accommodation and relied solely on the hospitality of local grandmothers with spare rooms. On one of our many knocks round, a tall man opened the door, cigarette in hand, and said in a perfect English I had not heard since being in London two months previously, “sorry guys, full”. He turned out to be a journalist from Croydon – and a science journalist with a laptop and a car booked to take him down the mountain the next day. Sure enough, I joined him and passed to the next round (a full-day, in-person assessment in London) and would start at The Times two months later. It has been a dizzy year since, being sent on several different “rotations” on different sections of the paper. Graphics, social media, obituaries, business, Scotland (where I spent four months in the Glasgow office), world, and finally news, where I will become a general news reporter. There have been several whirlwind moments, not least my week-long trip to Norway, where I spoke to fishermen on the Arctic border with Russia, or to the Costa del Sol where I met a real-estate agent who, in a former life, gave botox treatments to Russia’s political elite. Writing obituaries was a particularly illuminating experience – it may sound morbid, but colourful stories about the incredible lives people have lived are a joy to write. On From Backbench to The Times Max Kendix (2012-2019) started writing on MTS student publications such as Backbench before going on to write for the Durham University newspaper, Palatinate . After initially gaining a place as a graduate trainee he is now a news reporter at The Times .


I n retrospect, I probably should have known sooner that I’d become a journalist. A group of us made a website in the Fourth Form to host articles with updates on school life. In the Sixth Form, you could hardly move in the Dining Hall at the end of term without being confronted by a loyal brigade of distributors of the Backbench magazine, to which I dedicated far too much time. My dear friend Xavier and I spent hours perfecting an entertainingly excoriating review of a Head Master’s assembly on Marxism which, looking back, is perhaps proof that with age comes wisdom. Instead, I spent my days at Durham University convinced a career in finance awaited, all while admittedly skipping lectures to put together the student paper, Palatinate , in a dingy office in the Students’ Union. My friends would ask which newspapers I’d applied for, and the question would bemuse me – journalism wasn’t a career, it was just a bit of fun while preparing for the real world. Lady Luck, as ever, gave me a push. While on a post-university holiday around the Caucasus, I received a curious email saying I had been accepted onto the second stage of The Times graduate scheme. On a dull day in February, I had speculatively applied for a few journalism jobs, but really I was already signed up for an entry-level corporate job elsewhere. The emailed assessment was to rewrite two scientific press releases into articles suitable for The Times . Beyond finding the releases a completely incomprehensible collection of jargon, the real issue was that I read this email on a bus on my way to the mountainous region of Tusheti,

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