Friday, October 26, 2007

ABC Decides to Pay Interns, Pat Itself On The Back

This happened about a week ago, but I digitally "dog-eared" it because it's important:

"In a break with news industry standards, ABC News’ internships will become paid assignments beginning in January 2008," said a press release. "ABC News previously offered academic credit for semester-long internships."

Internships are a hot topic on this here blog, and I read this press release with both happiness and a sense of disgust. OK, great, ABC, you're going to pay interns. But in doing so, you acknowledge that you didn't pay them before -- you big, corporate, Mickey Mouse scumbag -- and neither did (or do) any of your fellow media brethren.


I've stood on the pulpit before in defense of the lowly intern, and I'm glad there's some change. But is it enough?

I really feel that it isn't. And I'm waiting for someone to convince me otherwise (e-mail or comment if you can).

What isn't in this release is exactly how much ABC is going to pay its interns. The press release didn't mention any numbers, but I'm confident that it isn't any better than the local burger joint down the street (and this includes graduate students, who at 23 with an undergraduate degree under their belt and a graduate degree in motion would think deserve more than slightly-above minimum wage.) Talk about paying people for their intellectual worth!

The worst part about this is that ABC felt the need to send out a press release. Look at us! We're contributing to society! It's almost like ExxonMobil sending out a release saying that it's going to start contributing a few grand to environmental preservation groups.

Upward mobility for all! The American dream! Someone go hug Walt Disney's statue before it gets too cold.

Here's the full release:


In a break with news industry standards, ABC News’ internships will become paid assignments beginning in January 2008. ABC News previously offered academic credit for semester-long internships. In making the announcement, ABC News President David Westin said:

“ABC’s internship program is one of the primary ways we identify and nurture young journalists. This change will enhance our ability to reach an even more diverse group of students and attract the best and brightest.”

Out of hundreds of candidates who apply, ABC News draws upon approximately 75-80 interns from colleges and universities around the country every semester and summer. Interns staff broadcasts and platforms throughout the news division, including: “World News with Charles Gibson,” “Good Morning America,” “Nightline,” “Primetime,” “20/20,” the ABC News’ Investigative Unit, News Productions, the Longform Unit,, ABC News Radio, and ABC News Now.

Many ABC News staffers got their start in the Internship Program. Vinnie Malhotra, who was named executive producer of Weekend News Content in 2007, began his career at ABC in 1996 as an intern at NewsOne, the network’s affiliate news service. “The experience and the exposure you get as an intern at the network level is unparalleled. I worked hard, soaked in everything I could, and paid my dues to earn a full-time position. It definitely gave me a head start,” said Malhotra.

ABC News’ Internship Program is open to sophomores through seniors and graduate students enrolled in an accredited college or university. Students are eligible to work between 16 and 40 hours/week for an hourly wage consistent with media industry standards. Students work closely with producers, editors, and correspondents on a wide variety of projects, including: research and writing, preliminary interviews, footage selection, and tape logging. To apply, go to

About ABC News

More Americans get their news from ABC News than from any other source. Through its platforms on television, radio, and the Internet, ABC News reaches, on average, more than 180 million people in a given month. ABC News programs are seen in 88 countries worldwide. In addition, ABC News Now, the network’s 24-hour digital linear channel, provides a wide range of video-on-demand programming from all ABC News broadcasts. ABC News Now is available to more than 34 million broadband subscribers and nearly 5 million mobile video users.

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