Student journalism: Going into a work experience placement with your eyes open

A recent survey by the NUJ concluded that many journalism graduates are exploited during unpaid work-experience stints.

Press Gazette asked the major magazine publishers for details of their policies on work experience. Those that responded are published below to give you an idea of what they offer and what they will expect from you

Hachette Filipacchi

Work experience is run by the individual magazine or department at Hachette Filipacchi, so each magazine varies in the way the internship or work experience programme is operated.

Hachette Filipacchi takes both qualified and unqualified candidates for work experience – it depends on the person and what previous experience they’ve had.

Length of time of placements can vary: On Elle the average placements are three months, but occasionally extended to six months.

A day rate is usually agreed, in which case additional money for travel expenses is not paid.

IPC

IPC says it has a detailed policy on work experience, which it actively communicates to all its magazines. Work experience is defined as ‘a short period of work either during educational studies or after, from which the individual can gain first-hand experience of the workplace and of a particular role or area of work”.

Placements are available to students aged 14-16 and A-level students, as part of the National Curriculum, and to students in full-time education at college or university.

Placements may also be offered to recent graduates or job seekers on an expenses-only basis for up to a maximum of four weeks. Interns, sandwich-course placements, gap-year students, summer holiday workers and qualified journalists are paid at least the minimum rate or the appropriate rate for the job.

Condé Nast

Work-experience placements are taken by students or recent graduates seeking to move into the magazine industry rather than those with journalism qualifications who are already in the workforce. Work-experience candidates have to be at least 18 years of age and in education or recently graduated. Generally, placements are between one and four weeks in length.

A contribution is offered to cover travel expenses within London and a sum for lunch.

Dennis

Work-experience placements are offered to qualified journalists for between one and three months.

Depending on the length of the placement, most people are paid a set day fee or receive a contribution to their travel expenses

Journalism qualifications are preferred, as this enables the placement to be offered experience on a particular section or area of a magazine or website, and maybe write copy and contribute to the editorial.

BBC Magazine

The BBC only takes on qualified journalists as part of its work-experience programme, which is for one or two weeks. Most people who take part are still studying and are not paid for the placements.

BBC Magazines produces a Manager’s Guide to Work Experience/Employing Students, which states that ‘It is essential that people on work experience are not used to cover a role or tasks where we would ordinarily pay someone”.

Travel is paid within London Tube zones 1-6.

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