False incentives mean fewer AP interns

Posted: December 31st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: journalism | Tags: , , , , , | View Comments

Photo courtesy of Douglas Muth

As 2010 comes to a close and the journalism industry counts losses from another year of sliding revenues, the Associated Press has decided to put its internship programs (and some other recruitment efforts) on a one-year hiatus. In the professional journalism world of late, cost-cutting matters almost as much as reporting the news. And despite controversy about the role of interns and the merits of paid versus unpaid in the industry, the program is low-hanging fruit.

Proponents of paid internship programs point to several functions they deem essential to education, training and growth in the industry: that internships grease the wheels for top journalism talent, and that without payment, positions would be available only to those wealthy enough to sustain themselves without pay for the position’s duration.

But incentives matter, and they aren’t well aligned to push the AP to continue the program. Read the rest of this entry »