Bogus work placements undermine media

The National Union of Journalists is conducting an online survey into the use, and abuse, of work experience internships at newspapers.

Early indications showed up to 80 per cent of those responding believed that their companies exploit work experience placements to fill gaps in staffing.

The survey comes as the NUJ welcomed calls by the Government to introduce national standards for internships as “a positive first step in challenging exploitative unpaid work experience placements”.

The NUJ has been campaigning for a number of years for the government to tackle the use of bogus work experience placements by media companies to get work done for free.

NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear said: “This report shows how the use of unpaid internships has undermined the diversity of our profession.

“The NUJ welcomes the report’s proposals to develop national standards as a first step in stamping out exploitative practices across the media. Genuine work experience is vital to anyone coming in to the profession, but all too often these placements are of very low quality. Too many employers see internships as a way of getting work done for free, without any thought towards their responsibilities to provide would-be journalists with a learning opportunity.”

Click here for more recent articles on journalism, sport and sports journalism

SJA MEMBERS: Make sure your profile details are up to date in the 2010 SJA Yearbook by clicking here