Surprise! Unpaid internships go to well-off kids because they can afford to work them. Paid internships also go to the well-to-do because of their well-connected parents.
Not to worry, nobody is addressing this crisis.
As noted by the program, journalism is one of the worst professions for discrimination against lower socio-economic classes. The fact that I’m not able to do unpaid internships is one of the primary reasons that I’m not employed. I’ve had numerous job interviews in which I’ve been told that I “haven’t paid my dues” in the trade by working unpaid internships.
As a former foster child, I’ve never been able to work for free.
While I can focus on my own experience, I’m more greatly concerned for what this means for journalism as a trade.
Increasingly, journalism is disconnected from society as a whole as the trade becomes monolithically upper-middle to upper-class with a strict orthodoxy. No institution can become exclusionary without eventually collapsing upon itself due to the stagnation that results.
That’s the self-interest argument to business to end unpaid internships and to address socio-economic barriers that exclude talent exclusive of merit.