Back when I was in university, between my second and third years, I got myself a summer job working for a small theatre company. I can't remember my job title, but I did some administrative work and lots of marketing-type tasks, like compiling media lists and writing press releases. It was a great experience, and one I wouldn't have had without the help of the government. You see, the theatre received money from the government as part of a youth work program to cover a portion of my salary, meaning they were actually able to afford to hire someone.
I always wondered whether there was a similar program that publishers could take advantage of so they could offer paid magazine internships, and now I know that there is. As reported on the Canadian Magazines blog, the Cultural Human Resources Council runs a Youth Internship Program, and will pay up to $10,000 towards the salary for an internship running from four to 12 months.
With the prevalence of layoffs and hiring freezes, you may be wondering what's the likelihood that magazines are going to start paying their interns. But what if we look at it this way: With fewer people doing more work, interns are going to start taking on more duties of entry-level positions (if they're not already doing tasks that most editorial assistants would do). If you can't afford to hire the EA you so desperately need, why not pay half as much for an intern? When the economy begins to pick up and you can afford to hire more staff, you'll already have that cost on your books, which you can continue pay out as a half-decent stipend for an intern even if you're no longer a participant in the government program.
Corinna vanGerwen is a freelance editor and writer. She has worked as senior editor at Style at Home, senior design editor at Cottage Life and is the former Canadian Director of Ed2010. She has also held the position of operations manager at a boutique PR agency, where she handled strategic planning and daily operations.