Having worked both unpaid and paid internships, I know there’s a wide range of the former running the gamut from legitimately educational positions offering plenty of work experience on a reasonable schedule, to hour-clogged, menial task-laden nightmares in which the poor, unpaid young is bombarded with full-time shit work. No one ever claimed trying to “make it” didn’t require some sacrifice, yet it seems clear that some of the industry’s practices are wholly unfair, if not outright immoral, as anyone will hear plenty of stories from friends who’ve been coaxed into sticking an unpaid internship out for months at a time.
On one hand, there are the lawsuits aimed at securing compensation, some of which do come off as a little whiny—as though your lack of payment five years ago is why you don’t have a job today. (As a former shitty intern speaking to another, it’s entirely possible you just sucked.) But I stumbled across a newly launched Kickstarter for a magazine called Intern, which claims it’ll showcase the best work of the unpaid creative field while hoping to broach the debate about what intern culture really constitutes. The video below may make you wince with its tender boy rhetoric, but my millennial solidarity approves; the ethical wobbliness of some Kickstarter projects is well-chronicled, but $10,000 (or 5,500 pounds, since the creators are English) is a fair price to pay for the publication of a real, tangible product, especially when you note they’re trying to pay their contributors. But while plenty are waiting to break into the paying industry, it’s nice to see someone seizing the reins and starting something new. Go forth, unpaid youngs.