Back in April I was interviewed for a segment on TV One's "Close Up" about how young interns are treated in advertising agencies while they're on trial placement or internships. The 10 minute piece aired on July 18th, around the time that our government is reviewing employment policies.
I was lucky enough to avoid this period that many newbies go through - being paid $100 a week and kept on for up to a year with no guarantee of a job at the end. And quite frankly, I don't think I would have put up with it for more than a couple of months.
The journalist who interviewed us asked a lot of leading questions and was obviously out to collect the evidence for only one angle: that is, us telling him all about the exploitation that goes on. Of course we were all a lot more diplomatic than he wanted; in fact my friend Jono who was also interviewed tells me the journalist kicked a rubbish bin in frustration because he wasn't getting the juicy gossip he expected. Media, huh.
The end result wasn't as bad as I expected, but it wasn't great either. For a 10 minute piece there was a lot of repetition, and they cut out a lot of my comments that offered the other side of the story. That is, while there is definitely exploitation going on from the agencies' end, young creatives play a part too. It's their responsibility to ask for more money or to walk away when it's obvious they're being used. Instead of just bitching about it and stealing booze from the agency fridge to make up for it. That's the only way we'll change the internship system from our end - by just saying no.
I'm glad the piece aired and I hope it starts the wheel turning for change. I'm not holding my breath though!
Another link to the piece here: