It’s the end of an era. Publishing powerhouse, Condé Nast, isn’t accepting any interns for their 2014 internship program. This announcement comes on the heels of lawsuits filed by two former interns from June 2013, one from W Magazine and the other from The New Yorker. They claimed they were being paid below minimum wage.
With titles such as Vogue, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Glamour, Allure, Bon Appétit, and Architectural Digest among the many magazines in its repertoire of brands, the company influences just about every facet of contemporary culture with fashion.
Currently none of the brands are accepting interns for the upcoming summer or for any time in the near future for that matter. CEO Chuck Townsend announced in an internal memo on Friday that the lawsuits were being settled outside of court.
“We are, and have always been, extremely proud of the internship experiences that were offered at Condé Nast,” written by Townsend in the memo. “Our internships were considered some of the best in the industry, providing students with unparalleled learning opportunities outside of the classroom. The training and contacts our interns received at Condé Nast helped many begin successful careers here and elsewhere.”
“We believe that settling the lawsuit at this time is the right business decision for Condé Nast. The settlement will allow us to devote our time and resources towards developing meaningful, new opportunities to support up-and-coming talent” Townsend elaborated.
I’m very torn on this topic. As a Condé Nast Summer Intern Alumni from 2011, I can attest to the quality and impact the internship had on my professional career. I was able to jump in with both feet, research, interview, transcribe, and have my work published. I was taught by some of the best in the publishing industry and I couldn’t have asked for a more renowned company to work for.
It is unfortunate that they will no longer be offering internships to cultivate and train the next batch of talented professionals in the industry. We all know just how crucial it is to land the right internship and get as much experience as possible in order to get a full-time paid job.
Maybe this is the beginning to something new. I felt fortunate just to have the opportunity to work at Condé Nast, let alone be concerned with being paid, but I see the argument. American legislature could take a lesson or two from the French, as they regulate internships in France, often times paying the interns. I’m interested to see what the future has in store for Condé Nast and other similar publishing, communications, fashion companies alike.
What do you think about this issue? Is someone lucky to even have a prestigious internship in NYC at a powerful company or do the interns deserve to be paid? Is school credit enough? Have we just grown accostumed to this system of free labor? Part of me believes that I’m getting so much more from my internships than I could ever get out of any paycheck.
By Alexa Pizzi