Comment: Condé Nast ends internship programme
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Last week, Condé Nast – whose publications include The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and Vogue – announced that it was closing down its internship programme following lawsuits being filed against the company by former interns, claiming that they had been paid below the minimum wage for summer jobs at W Magazine and The New Yorker. Former interns Lauren Ballinger and Matthew Leib sued Condé Nast in June 2013, stating that the magazines had broken labour laws by paying them far less than the minimum legal wage. Ballinger complained that she was paid just $12 per day (about £7.45) for shifts that lasted twelve hours or more. Leib claimed that The New Yorker paid him between $300-$500 (around £186-£310) during each of the two summers he worked for the magazine, reading, proofreading and reviewing articles. This is just the latest development in a string of cases relating to unpaid or underpaid internships; last year, Hearst Magazines was sued by a former Harper’s Bazaar intern, and earlier this year a Manhattan judge ruled that Fox Searchlight Pictures broke laws by not paying two interns who had worked on the hit film Black Swan. However, while there is much to be said for the fight against unpaid internships, a number of former and current Condé Nast interns feel that shutting the internship programme altogether is too extreme a reaction.
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