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Exposure versus compensation

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Tweener, Aug 26, 2015.

  1. Tweener

    Tweener Active Member

    Some of you may have read this item on Romenesko today about Arianna Huffington wanting to use research done by a reporter without offering compensation. The reporter, Lauren Lipton, scored one for journalists everywhere when she more than declined to give her work away for free.

    » ‘The rapacious Ms. Huffington seems to believe that journalism skills are worth nothing’ JIMROMENESKO.COM

    Wondering what everyone thinks about this and whether you've ever worked for very little or no compensation simply to gain "exposure."
  2. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    If Arianna Huffington thinks journalists are just going to bend over and give it away for free ... it's only because they have done that for her for 10 years now.
    Batman and cranberry like this.
  3. Tweener

    Tweener Active Member

    That is the root of the problem. Bylines, experience, exposure, whatever you want to call it, is at such a premium that some are willing to sacrifice compensation to get it. Perhaps they believe they have to do it to have a career on this business.

    But that line if thinking is actually making it more difficult for others. Compensation for some is so low, without a raise in sight, because employers know they can go find cheap or even free labor that is always on the open market.
  4. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    "Exposure" is a crock. Get paid. There are a lot more paid gigs out there than people think. Craft a great story pitch and sell it, or cover a ballgame for the local paper.
    wicked likes this.
  5. swingline

    swingline Well-Known Member

    Bravo, Ms. Lipton.
  6. da man

    da man Well-Known Member

    Your love give me such a thrill
    But your love don't pay my bills...

    Last edited: Aug 26, 2015
  7. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    I worked for free in what was essentially a lengthy volunteer internship for a local-area paper back in my early years of college, even working in an AM/PM mini-mart on the graveyard shift for a year specifically so I could go to school and do that during the day/regular night hours.

    But that was quite a long time ago now, and honestly, back then, I didn't even think about it. I needed and wanted the clips and the experience, and I just wanted to do it. And I could, because I still lived at home at the time.

    I'd never do it again, and nowadays, I'd never suggest or recommend that anybody do that. But I'd have to say that, really, it worked out OK for me then, when I think that sort of thing was more common and less frowned-upon anyway.

    I got plenty of clips and experience, and it was all worth it when the paper hired me for a full-time half-sports/half-news staff opening there the next year. It was a small paper, but I liked it and was just loving the work so I jumped at the opportunity. Obviously, I made contacts, and, to this day, friends. Once I'd started working there, I realized I liked the particular city/area where the paper was located very much, and I started thinking that if I could ever live there, I would.

    Well, I still do, having bought a condo and settled there.

    And even though I moved on from the paper to bigger and what I considered better things -- actually my dream thing, back then -- I still own/rent out my home there and I still keep in periodic touch with several people I met and worked with at that paper. Some of them also went on to bigger things, while some others stayed right there for many years -- or are still there -- apparently having liked it just as much as me.

    All that notwithstanding, do as I say now, not what I did then. :)
    Tweener likes this.
  8. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    Get the money.
  9. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    Unpaid internships bother Fredrick beyond belief! Another thing wrong with America today. I remember when I was in high school and a local newspaper editor spoke in our journalism class and said he had two openings for writers to cover sporting events and some other events for the summer. I applied and got the part-time summer job and was so proud and happy to get a byline and get real money for doing something that was so fun. It actually paid pretty well for a high school summer job, too. Unpaid internships should be illegal.
  10. Tweener

    Tweener Active Member

    Some newspapers have threatened to get rid of internships altogether if they have to start actually paying for labor. On the flipside, I know some papers have discontinued internship programs because they can't afford to pay interns and refuse to exploit the current state of the business.

    At some point, it became acceptable to provide an alternative to an actual paycheck in return for the work we do. We've all probably worked for little to nothing on one occasion or another, and its created a landscape where companies now feel they can ask for your work without us putting up a fuss.
  11. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    I didn't realize newspapers still had unpaid internships. It's so classless. It's really a wretched policy to have unpaid internships. Now if the kid gets course credit at the universidy? That is STRETCHING it to sort of, kind of, not really make it OK to have unpaid internships. If the person can get mulltiple hours of course credit it's not AS bad as not paying the student reporter/deskperson. Please, news organizations, do the right thing and get rid of your internships if you don't pay the employees.
  12. novelist_wannabe

    novelist_wannabe Well-Known Member

    One of the reasons - probably the biggest reason - I've spent my career in print rather than broadcasting (my degree is in radio/television production) is that the path to TV jobs when I graduated included unpaid internships. I guess I could have lived in a refrigerator box and subsisted on ramen for six months, but I refused to work for free. I'm pretty happy with how things turned out.
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