A year ago, Alexandra Kimball wrote an essay in the then-brand-new online magazine Hazlitt (published by Random House Canada) examining the questions surrounding unpaid internships. Now she is revisiting the issue in light of recent developments, largely lawsuits and decisions in the U.S. "Unpaid internships have become visible," she says.
"I’m not sure how to properly communicate how huge this is, how far we’ve come since the spring of 2012, when I sat down to write a screed about the intern system in Hazlitt’s early days. I had been pitching essays about interning for years, with no takers—it was an off-the-radar issue for mainstream media. While the unpaid internship had all but replaced an actual job as the de facto mode of entry-level employment, talking about how shitty and immoral and dangerous this was was not really done. Most people my age and younger had been affected by the rise of internships, but the truth of our experiences—be it the indignity of working for free or, for those who can’t afford to intern, the resentment of being locked out from the get-go—had been buried."Kimball will be discussing the unpaid internship issue on Thursday on Hazlitt's podcast The Arcade.