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Unpaid Internships?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by SholdMediaGroup, Mar 30, 2014.

  1. Riptide

    Riptide Well-Known Member

  2. Haha well played.
  3. BDC99

    BDC99 Well-Known Member

    Never did an internship, but I agree you should get paid for your work, even if it's minimum wage. I don't work for free, unless it's to help friends (and even then I get lunch out of the deal). And saying I'm not going to give a college kid some of my budget because of layoffs/low pay/etc is absurd. Unpaid internships are just as much a threat to jobs/pay. As someone noted, why pay someone for the work when you can get it for free?
  4. RedCanuck

    RedCanuck Active Member

    I have an unpaid intern right now and I'd really like to believe that people would look at our paper as a good citizen because of it, rather than the scourge of the earth. That said, I believe fully people should be compensated for their work and that under no circumstances should that free labour be taking the place of something a paid employee could and should do.

    I don't actively recruit or seek unpaid interns and when they contact me, I'm very clear that I don't have an internship budget or a freelance budget as I'm one of the fortunate ones who has a good complement of full-time staff. That said, the interns we take often do gain school credit for being here and I really hope that we are providing an important learning environment for our interns.

    I always say that while I would love to pay you, I will give hours of my time as an experienced editor to teach everything I know and my reporters likely will give theirs also. That comes at a cost to our employer. I also promise my interns they just won't sling coffee or rewrite press releases, but they'll be given a chance to chase their own ideas and earn good clips. Lastly, I give my word that if an intern lives up to expectations and busts his or her ass, I'll do everything in my power to help them get a good first job somewhere and keep them in mind for any projects I might have.

    I realize I'm fortunate to get whomever I get because they need to pay the bills and because at an independent paper, I might not be able to expose them to a chain's culture or its contacts. That said, I'd hope interns find value in the environment we create for them and the investment of time and resources. Ultimately, I think we benefit with the energy and enthusiasm in our newsroom, but I sure hope we can all look back and say it was a win-win.
  5. Gold

    Gold Active Member

    It was illegal, it is illegal, and it is wage theft pure and simple.

    I could write for hours about this, and I was against this when this was an expected part of a journalism career. It also favors young people who are upper class and places young people from families who are poor or lower-middle class at a disadvantage.

    The argument that a newspaper with a goal of making a profit doesn't have the money is worse than stupid. I can't ask someone for a Lincoln Continental because I can't afford it. Anybody who could get a benefit from an internship would benefit from being paid at a low-wage job.

    There should never have been any thought that unpaid internships are wrong.
  6. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    Gold nails it here.

    The bolded statement isn't just true about interns, but also about the younger reporters in general at my 20K-circulation shop. Our starting pay is so low that unless there is some financial support from a second job, a spouse or other family members, you can't live on it.

    But that's OK, because the only readers newspapers want are upper middle class or the wealthy. May as well reflect that goal in the newsroom staff ... [/whole 'nother subject]
  7. Twoback

    Twoback Active Member

    Company creates an internship mostly to help younger people advance their careers.
    Naturally, the younger people gripe that they need to be paid to do the job. So beautiful.
    I had an unpaid internship. It turned into a job.
    Wife, who had two unpaid, built the foundation of her highly successful career on them. You are willing to invest in your career, or you are not.
  8. Twoback

    Twoback Active Member

    Your teacher was a fool.
  9. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    This is really naive.

    Company creates an internship to keep staff at bare bones and be able to backfill without spending any money.
  10. Twoback

    Twoback Active Member

    I have a friend who "naïve-ed" his way from a boatload of unpaid intern hours into a 30-year career in local TV.
    The minimum wage he wasn't paid while in college has been returned to him at a factor of probably 500 million cents on the dollar.
  11. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Good for him.

    It doesn't change what the purpose of unpaid internships is.
  12. Twoback

    Twoback Active Member

    Yes. The purpose is for a young student with little to no actual work experience in chosen field to gain that experience, whether or not it adds actual value -- often does not -- to the company providing the opportunity. So many have taken advantage of this chance and built successful careers. Now, people mostly gripe about it and pretend it's one more way "the system" is trying to stick it to them.
    Get over yourselves, please.
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