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23-10-2013
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Condé Nast Discontinuing Internship Program
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10/23/2013
By ERIK MAZA

INTERNSHIPS ENDING: Condé Nast has decided to discontinue its internship program starting in 2014, WWD has learned. The end of the program comes after the publisher was sued this summer by two former interns who claimed they were paid below the minimum wage during internships at W and The New Yorker.

Condé is just one of several media companies facing similar litigation from summer interns. In February 2012, a former intern at Hearst’s Harper’s Bazaar sued, claiming the magazine violated minimum wage and overtime laws. A judge threw out the case, but the intern appealed and the suit remains unresolved. In another case that was settled in June, two interns who worked for Fox Searchlight successfully sued the studio for similar reasons.

Several days after that case was settled, Lauren Ballinger, an intern at W in 2009, and Matthew Leib, who worked at The New Yorker in 2009 and 2010, filed their lawsuit, which is still pending.

The size of the average Condé intern class is unclear. Current interns are not affected and will remain employed through the end of their terms. WWD is part of Condé Nast, which declined comment. Hearst did not comment on the status of its internship program.
wwd.com

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23-10-2013
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That is very unfortunate. It's crazy how interns get exploited in the US (and probably in many other countries as well) and there is not much you can do because they will just justify this kind of behavior with "we're giving you the chance to be trained by us and you should be grateful" kind of excuses. It's sad that fighting for your rights as an intern results in them just shutting down their intern programs entirely!
I was secretly hoping to get/dreaming of getting an internship with a major publishing house someday, but it's starting to get less and less likely,lol

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23-10-2013
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Oh how great, just when I start fashion school. Thanks for killing the dream, no big deal!

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23-10-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc10 View Post
Oh how great, just when I start fashion school. Thanks for killing the dream, no big deal!
picking a conde nast magazine to do your first internship wouldn't be the best idea anyway. None of my friends who have interned at any of their magazines enjoyed it or found it intellectually stimulating. It was basically running errands and organizing the fashion closet.

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24-10-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Psylocke View Post
That is very unfortunate. It's crazy how interns get exploited in the US (and probably in many other countries as well) and there is not much you can do because they will just justify this kind of behavior with "we're giving you the chance to be trained by us and you should be grateful" kind of excuses. It's sad that fighting for your rights as an intern results in them just shutting down their intern programs entirely!
Sad and upsetting truth. The system is incredibly flawed across the board. Conde Nast was just another company that used free interns as glorified coffee fetchers who don't actually get to really dip their toes into the business, save for maybe getting their paws on the fashion closet. It's a shame to see the opportunity go, but the exploitative nature of it all kind of washes away the sting.

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24-10-2013
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Good for the childs. Internships should be forbidden.

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24-10-2013
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From what I've read in the past about our labor laws ... in the U.S., interns must be paid at minimum wage ... unless they are receiving school credit and it's documented. So, if that is true (and I believe it is), then I think the problem is that they probably have taken on interns who were not working towards their degree in a school approved internship program and got busted for it.

I agree that usually an intern is just a gofer ... so not sure how much actual learning they got from interning. However, we all know that in the fashion publishing world, it's largely about connections ... so working in a prestigious magazine and getting to know a few key people (hopefully, impressing them) can definitely be a career booster. So, internships are beneficial in that way, if you can impress the right people ... you just don't learn as much as I think you should.

Not sure if this is a good thing ... but if Conde Naste actually did break the labor laws, then I think it's best.

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Last edited by BetteT; 24-10-2013 at 11:29 AM.
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24-10-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BetteT View Post
From what I've read in the past about our labor laws ... in the U.S., interns must be paid at minimum wage ... unless they are receiving school credit and it's documented.
In almost all states the law now also says that internships can be unpaid if they can be considered a traineeship, i.e. the intern is not doing someone else's work but is actually working there because they want to learn something that will be of value for a future job. The question is, of course, what is an internship then? It is extremely difficult nowadays to find paid internships in the US because it's such a grey area, almost every internship can be considered a traineeship. And then there are all the start-ups getting 'interns'/'trainees' because they can't afford full-time employees and that seems to be accepted because they promise to eventually hire you or offer other benefits, stipends, etc.

Not sure what the law is regarding working overtime in internships?

But I definitely agree, I also think internships in the fashion industry are important because it's all about connections and prestige in this industry and it will simply look good on your resume if you interned with Condé Nast.
But hey, they still have the new (and insanely expensive) Condé Nast College in London now, so that may be a good alternative for some

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24-10-2013
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So who are they going to get to do all the work then? Are they going to hire people for the positions that the interns normally filled? The internship program is quite flawed in many ways but they should have worked on fixing it not completely axing it. I wonder if this decision is going to make it much harder for people to get a position working for Conde Nast magazines.

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24-10-2013
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I would think it would make it easier to get work at Conde Nast ... because now they will have to offer real jobs ... jobs that didn't exist before. The jobs will still be entry level stuff, but I'm thinking that now that they will have to actually pay assistants, they will not have as many around as they had interns, so their managers will have to put them to work doing productive work ... not just running for coffee and doing personal errands. And if that happens, it will be a good thing .... time will tell.

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25-10-2013
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this is great...!
people working for free isn't good for anyone...

it's glorified slave labor and has gotten out of control in recent years...
i applaud those who filed the lawsuit...
of course, they will now be blacklisted by the industry...
...

but they are probably better off getting away from this crazy world anyway...
...

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26-10-2013
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I was initially upset when I read the story in WWD, but then I began to consider a few things (some of which were brought up in this post) and I need more information before I can wholly form an opinion. First, I think it is terrible that Conde Nast is axing the internship program, hopefully it is just while they restructure the program. There are countless budding writers, photographers, etc that NEED exposure to the industry. Secondly, I believe there should be greater oversight on internships. I recently read the relatively new stipulations the DoL has put out that all internships must meet. Now while I think some are great, I think others will ultimately lead to a decline in the number of internships offered industry wide. For example, if I were to intern with a buying office I could not work with any real accounts at all because, according to the DoL, nothing I do can be beneficial to the company. I think this provides a distinct disadvantage to both parties because it makes it difficult for the company to truly monitor or assess your skills in a real world environment with stress and pressure and it also robs the intern of experiencing what it may be like to truly work in that type of environment. Now I think there may be a loop hole, the company can actually pay you during the internship and bypass at least some of the 6 requirements. Either way I think it's obvious those two interns can pretty much begin looking for work in other fields because they are more than likely blacklisted. Me personally, if I at least made some great contacts I would have suffered through, but that's just me.

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28-10-2013
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There are a few issues with internships including conditions and responsibilities.

I've done a few internships where I actually did nothing meaningful and learned no skills.
It was detrimental after a while because you would have worked at however many places and done nothing worth noting which then made it appear that there was a reason YOU were not being awarded responsibility when in reality it was standard for magazines/that designer/ to not give you anything stimulating.

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28-10-2013
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An internship should only be considered by and for students in the context of day release or year out activities and, as such, part of an educational process. However, the system has been royally abused by publishing houses - to say nothing of the antics of fashion houses - and something had to give because once it strays across the line from unpaid work experience for students into exploitation.

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28-10-2013
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I think its something where universities & colleges should be keeping an eye on and students should be vocal about what exactly is going on. I was lucky enough to have 4 different internships while in school (i graduated in June) and each was completely different from the other and gave me skills that I definitely was able to apply at my current job.

But in reality, internships are just unpaid assistant jobs that most interns will be getting paid to do when they are finally employed as assistant and into entry-level positions. I think its about being smart for these students and not picking the cliche and obvious internships. As well as companies who want interns to have a structured program for interns to learn.

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