Journo students: work for two years for nothing, keep a blog

Filed as News on March 27, 2009 2:51 am

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There’s no doubt that the publishing industry is in very interesting times at present. It’s getting particularly tough for journalist students to land their first job, with a prominent magazine editor suggesting that they should expect to work for two years on an internship before getting a paid position.

The editor of Psychologies magazine, Maureen Rice, said that she preferred internships over work experience because they were “worth the investment” and were “very much the right way to get a first job”.

Saying that it wouldn’t be easy in the near future, she suggested that keeping an up-to-date blog was more useful that some might think. “You must demonstrate how you have kept your interest in journalism alive,” she said.

While social networking sites can be used against job applicants, it was agreed that having a personal blog could be a positive influence.

Who knows… whilst you’re waiting for that first paid job, you could be making a bit of pocket money with that blog.

(Via Journalism.co.uk)

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  1. By Joy-Mari posted on March 27, 2009 at 8:18 am
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    Of course she prefers internships; they aren’t paid. And her endorsement will sway other editors into thinking they too should only employ interns for as long as possible. What better way to keep costs down during these uncertain economic times?

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  2. By Lisa Ellwood posted on March 27, 2009 at 11:12 am
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    I recall at the ripe old age of 43 being told as Junior and Senior at University that the only route to make use of my Journalism degree was either through great connections or working without compensation. As I navigate yet another career change, once again I hear “work for free”. It’s as impossible now as it was back then. Times really have not changed at all it seems.

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  3. By Maureen Rice posted on April 14, 2009 at 6:58 pm
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    Hello Joy-Mari,
    Not sure if you’re a journalism student, but if so, you haven’t really absorbed the first lesson: get your facts straight. I prefer interns at Psychologies because they work with us for up to six months and ARE paid. Work experience is unpaid (apart from expenses) and only lasts two weeks. Further, I have been very active within my own company and at Women In Journalism in helping to give a voice to student and newbie journalists, and have been very vocal in campaigning against unpaid work placements. I didn’t say that journalists “should expect” to work for two years as though I consider that a good or desirable thing – I said I’d known many journalists work for up top two years in a variety of internships and work placements before landing a staff job. Anyone thinking of getting into our industry now should know what they’re up against – it doesn’t mean I like it any more than you do.

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  4. By Joy-Mari posted on April 14, 2009 at 7:42 pm
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    Hi, Maureen.

    No, I’m not a journalism student. But the article does not paint a rosy picture: “with a prominent magazine editor suggesting that they should expect to work for two years on an internship before getting a paid position.”

    Why not change the system — at least at your publication — if you do not like it?

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  5. By Maureen Rice posted on April 15, 2009 at 3:22 pm
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    What do you suggest Joy-Marie? That we don’t offer internships – and therefore a chance to get into the industry? One magazine not giving students a chance to learn, network and upgrade their CV’s certainly wont help. What will is to pay interns – which we do (though I know a lot of places still don’t) along with providing them with genuine on the job training and contacts. And no, I don’t paint a rosy picture, because the picture is pretty grim: we work in an industry that is oversupplied with good people who want to enter it at a time when the industry is contracting, and getting jobs is harder than ever. Getting an internship, and getting the most from that internship is the best way for me to help. That and giving a realistic and honest portrayal of what any journalism student needs to know and be aware of if they want to pursue this career.

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