Condé Nast Says No To Internships, Should You Do The Same?

As a current card-carrying member of the ever-dwindling, perpetually wired tribe of fresh faced youngsters known as magazine interns, I know a fellow trench buddy when I see one: outfit meticulously planned, heels present but not the life of the party, eyes wild with caffeine and desperation. We are the select deluded few who refuse to believe that the recession will rob us of the chance to do what we’ve dreamed of doing since we first perused the New Yorker at the dentist’s office. Countless knob-kneed Carrie Bradshaw worshipers throughout Manhattan could therefore be heard wailing this past Wednesday, as the publishing giant Condé Nast announced that in the wake of two highly publicized lawsuits filed against the company last summer by former interns, they would be shutting down their internship program indefinitely.

But is this truly such a bad thing? The interns who filed the now-notorious lawsuits certainly don’t think so. They attested that they were paid less than one dollar a day for working for W magazine and the New Yorker, where one intern edited articles and columns for publication and updated the magazine’s cartoon database three days a week for two years. He was paid around $400 dollars a summer for his trouble. Intern lawsuits, as it happens, seem to be as in vogue lately as the content of the magazines they worked for: within the past few years, beleaguered hirelings toiling away everywhere from Fox Searchlight Pictures to the Charlie Rose Show have turned on their employers and brought out the judicial big guns. Why the sudden rebellion? Read more…

Internship Confessions: Despite Recent Labor Reform, Condé Nast Still Breaks the Rules

Copy-making, coffee-fetching, envelope delivering. It’s a job description that seems typical of a personal assistant’s job, just like that of Anne Hathaway’s character in The Devil Wears Prada. These days, it’s not uncommon to find the same job description applied to interns, except unlike the college-grad P.A. Hathaway portrays in the movie, interns usually don’t get paid for running errands. In recent years, unpaid internships have muddled the lines between personal assisting and educational learning experience. In our new series, “Internship Confessions,” we will take a look at the world of college internships by interviewing different NYU students in a variety of fields, to see what makes an internship great and what makes one seem like slave labor.

In March of last year, the integrated-media giant Condé Nast reformed their internship policies in order to reflect positive changes against the growing controversy of unpaid internships. According to the Atlantic Wire:

•Interns aren’t allowed to stay at the company for more than one semester per calendar year unless granted special clearance by Human Resources.

• Interns are required to do an orientation with HR where they are told to contact them if they are working unreasonably long hours or are mistreated.

• Interns can only work until 7pm and their security badges will actually be modified so that they won’t work after 7pm–meaning they won’t be able to get back into the building after 7 (making any late-afternoon errands or pickups particularly stressful) Read more…