The article by Girish Gupta about the Independent’s failure to pay interns who also worked as freelance journalists has raised various issues. While the newspaper executives castigated Gupta for demanding a salary, it does not take away the fact that he wrote articles for the media house that were later published. So, Girish was within his rights to invoice the organization for the purported work experience. As it seems, UK employers are only too pleased to assist young jobless people, as long as they keep working for nothing.
For many interns, getting a paid internship makes a significant difference in their lives. You could pay your rent, daily expenses, and pay off any student loans. But for news media organizations, having the unpaid interns allows the same people to write the same features year in year out, while ignoring and hurting people with an unstable income source.
The lack of wages often holds back talented journalists like Gupta from the full practice. Most students have to depend on their relatives or set aside a fund to even take the unpaid jobs.
Why Pay Interns?
Having a paid internship provides various benefits, starting with relief from the thousands of dollars they pay to work for free. Most students who accept unpaid internships find themselves being extracted for money, which increases their debt or stress on their families. Some organizations demand students to have a personal means of transport, which is extremely absurd.
Such demands are excessive especially for people from disadvantaged communities who are less likely to own a car.
Unpaid internships affect the student’s outcomes significantly. Data released by the Harvard Business Review reveals that students with paid internships are likely to perform better in a job fair or to end up in a job. While the unpaid intern still has an opportunity to network and assess their personal interests, it is essential for organizations to recognize the long-term benefits of paying journalism interns.
Interns deserve all the benefits of the workplace, if only for the period of the internship. This may include bylines, mentorships, and a fair monetary compensation. Their skills and effort should matter in the organization even as interns. Their time is valuable. And it’s worth money.