Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Magazines Canada polling its members about what they'd like to see in industry internships

Magazines Canada is polling its members to determine what they would like to see in an industry internship program. It's not before time.

The feasibility study is being funded by the Ontario Media Development Corporation and the goal is to find out from member publishers how young, talented people can get an opportunity to build careers in magazine publishing. 
"In this anonymous survey, we’ll explore your past experience with internships, what you see as the needs, gaps and opportunities, and get your feedback on a few potential models for how an industry paid internship program might work," the association says.
The whole issue of internships has been bedevilled by whether they are on-the-job training or free labour. Unpaid internships were until recently rife among magazines and many publishers depended on them to staff entry-level positions doing such work as fact-checking, research and writing.  But they were brought up short -- at least in Ontario -- when the government cracked down with an investigation under the Employment Standards Act. In a March 2014 statement the Ontario ministry of labour said
"Ontario’s rules are clear - regardless of your job title or what you agreed to when you started - if you perform work for somebody, you are protected under the Employment Standards Act (ESA)." 
Some publishers simply stopped taking on interns unless they could be done under cover of being part of the curriculum of a certified educational institution. Students still didn't get paid for the work they did, but it was apparently allowed as part of learning or work experience. 

Other publishers or related organizations (e.g. the National Magazine Awards Foundation) continued to or began paying at the minimum wage (roughly $11 an hour).

It's not known what questions are being asked in the survey or what the timeline is for making use of what's learned. 

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