This morning WWD learned that its parent company Condé Nast has decided to put the kibosh on all that bad publicity by killing its internship program dead. The company gave no comment or explanation for its decision, but we have a feeling it might have something to do with the summer lawsuit filed by two interns angry over making “less than $1 an hour” at the company. At first Condé simply decided to stop paying its lackeys altogether, but the risk apparently remained too great despite the fact that an identical class action suit against Hearst didn’t go anywhere in the end.
It’s time to re-evaluate the concept of internships. They’re supposed to provide equal opportunity career paths for talented, ambitious young students who can afford to work without getting paid, but they’re more often just a way to get entry-level work done without spending any money on hiring or benefits or any of the other annoying stuff that comes with, you know, running a for-profit business.
The Department of Labor considers internships “employment” (which must be fairly compensated under the law) unless said positions meet a list of strict requirements, so maybe Condé is simply acknowledging the fact that its internships will never meet those criteria. The more likely explanation is that someone determined that the work isn’t worth the headache. No winners here.