Is it ethical to have unpaid interns? Many don’t think so

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It’s something we do around here all the time at FOX31 Denver: We have a great staff of interns who work for nothing but college credit.

We believe — and all of our current surveyed interns agree — that our interns get a great look into broadcast media working for us, and most of them go on to paying jobs soon after completing the program.

But David Dennis, a journalism ethics commentator and recent graduate from Northwestern, put forth a compelling argument last week that the use of unpaid interns is unethical.


Because, Dennis argued in the Guardian last week, most universities don’t monitor their internship program as well as they should. Also, interns that come from wealthy families are gaining an unfair advantage.

He says even if students have the means to take on an unpaid internship, they often enter into a company where they do nothing but pick up remedial tasks the company just doesn’t want to pay for.

What do you think? Have you ever had an unpaid internship? Do you believe it is a necessary evil or an unethical practice? Click here to tell us on Facebook.

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