Monday, August 18, 2008
The problem with internships

Friday's post seems to have struck a note with some of you, drawing out some lengthy comments (here and here) on the lack of opportunities to develop skills, and on the amount of available salary information there is on the industry (as far as I know, we only have the Masthead Salary Survey and colleagues willing to dish about their own salaries to consult). There's one comment I'd like to pick up on, though. Says one anonymous poster

I've worked at several large monthly consumer mags and in general am shocked at the entitlement complexes, poor attention to detail and lack of enthusiasm amongst the interns I've worked with.

I'd like to suggest that perhaps our quality of interns would go up if we started paying them. I know, I know, tight budgets, can't afford to, yada, yada. Working out budgets isn't my job, but if we don't spend the money on developing good editors, we won't have any good applicants to hire, for both intern positions and entry-level editorial positions down the road. We owe it to the industry to ensure its future success by developing the editors we want to hire.

If more magazines started paying their interns either with a livable wage or with course credit as part of a school program, our pool of potential candidates would expand. We wouldn't be limited to interns who can afford to work unpaid for weeks, months. We would actually have our choice of the best applicants, of anyone who wants to be an editor. The publications that do offer a wage appear to be the most competitive, and I would venture to guess, get some of the best interns because they can pick and choose.

That sense of entitlement Anonymous mentioned? A large part of that comes from having to work for free.

- Corinna vanGerwen
About Me
Corinna vanGerwen


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.

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Thank you, Alicia!...
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