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”.
NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear said: â€œThis report shows how the use of unpaid internships has undermined the diversity of our profession.
â€œThe NUJ welcomes the reportâ€™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.”