The journalism industry expressed a collective shock at the announcement: No more internships at Wired, Vogue, and The New Yorker. No more for any of us.
Condé Nast is discontinuing its internship program. Many speculate this move is due to two interns recently suing the company for being paid below minimum wage.
I disagree with the lawsuit. Interns are told up-front that they won’t be paid, so it seems silly to sue for that later.
On the other hand, I do not like unpaid internships. Many require interns to move to another location, which entails moving and living expenses. That’s bad enough, but most of those Condé Nast internships are in New York, which we all know is extra expensive.
Condé Nast made a wrong move in nixing its internship program. Instead of getting rid of it, the company could just — gasp! — pay its interns. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, which doesn’t seem like much for a large company.
By doing what it did, Condé Nast sent a message: We would rather have no workers than paid workers.
That’s a dangerous sentiment for journalism from a company as big as Condé Nast.
It will be interesting to see if Hearst Magazines (maker of Cosmopolitan and Esquire, among others), who was also recently sued for not paying interns, will follow Condé’s example.
In the meantime, let’s hope Condé, one of the most well-known magazine publishers, restores its internship program and pays its interns.