From J Source:
By Heidi Lee
In 2019, the Concordia Journalism Student Association led a strike against unpaid internships in Québec.
Diona-Rosan Macalinga, who was then a first-year student, recalled most students didn’t come to class to show their solidarity.
“We’ve been talking about unpaid internships and it feels as though they create barriers for marginalized groups,” said Macalinga, now a fourth-year student currently serving as the executive of finance at the Concordia JSA. “We hear news organizations say that they would like to create inclusivity and diversity in the industry, but having unpaid internships is kind of counterproductive to that goal.”
It’s an ages-old debate that was reignited yet again in the fall, with a tweet from B.C.-based photojournalist and Room Up Front founder Jimmy Jeong, who posted the outline for CBC’s internships. The program, explains the post, entails students working full time for six weeks, with no other scheduled obligations like school or work, and potential limitations on outside freelancing. The positions are unpaid.
Jeong, and many, many others, identified the roadblock at the gate that’s put up for low-income and traditionally underrepresented journalists when getting entry-level experience requires full-time unpaid labour, on top of a university tuition.