I’ve been there, fresh out of University and ready to live my dreams as a writer. I jumped online and searched for every single writing job available and saw that a lot of them required 2 years experience, plus some even wanted additional sales experience – so I knew I was a little bit screwed. The I saw an oppurtunity as a writer for a magazine, and in the AD it said that after 3 months you have a chance to get paid. So I thought I was now sorted, I’d work hard and live my dreams. I was soo naive.
I started this internship with a lot of drive, and ignored all the obvious red flags (please see my blog post on this magazine). They asked for a lot, and I was ready to prove to them that I was adaptable and a fast worker. Once three months passed, I started to notice that no one on this magazine except the editors were making any form of money from this, and even one of the editors was getting paid part-time minimum wage. I don’t know why I stayed there for so long, but some part of me truly thought that this would be a good oppurtunity.
I didn’t only write for this place, I also conducted interviews, did a talk at a BBC event and even was on the red carpet event for them. It got to the point where I was also part of a podcast for them, and still there was no oppurtunty for making money. They saw us as slaves essentially, and asked for more and more, but wouldn’t give us anything. I also wrote for several other magazines and ended up in the same situation, lots of work, but no pay.
It’s actually gross how common this is as well, I’ve met so many people who have been in the same situation and it’s just modern day slave labour. Magazines are taking advantage of young people’s dreams to be a writer/journalist and instead of giving us the chance to progress they just rinse us and use us for everything that we have, once we’re sucked dry they find new victims and the cycle continues.
We need to honestly do more for people, and speak out against this ridiculouslness. I understand that running a magazine is difficult and its hard to get the funding – but this culture of not paying your workers is truly disgusting. We live in a capitalist society and we’re not all from rich families, so a lot of us can’t afford to do this shit.