Condé Nast ends internship program after low pay is slammed

Mike Krumboltz
Magazine stand (photo: Thinkstock)

Condé Nast, the publisher of a wide variety of magazines including the New Yorker, Vanity Fair and GQ, announced it is ending its internship program beginning next year.

The move comes shortly after the publisher was sued by two former interns who claimed they were paid a salary below the minimum wage. Women's Wear Daily, which is published by Condé Nast, posted the news on its own site.

Condé Nast is not the only publisher that has faced or is currently facing lawsuits from former interns.

In 2012, Time magazine published a story detailing a class-action lawsuit against Hearst Corp., which owns Harper's Bazaar magazine. The suit was made on behalf of Diana Wang and other "unpaid or underpaid interns who worked at the company over the past six years."

Women's Wear Daily writes that "a judge threw out the case, but the intern appealed and the suit remains unresolved."

The conventional wisdom about internships is that they aren't so much about the money as they are the experience, and perhaps, a salaried position once the internship is over.

However, according to several studies, that is rarely the case. Several months ago, the Atlantic reported that, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, college students who've had unpaid internships are offered full-time employment (anywhere — not just at the company where they interned) just 1.8 percentage points more than students who never interned.

According to the NACE, 63.1 percent of students who had a paying internship received at least one job offer.

The Department of Labor hosts a fact sheet to help employers determine if interns are required to be paid minimum wage and overtime.

What are your thoughts on unpaid or underpaid interns? Should the practice be allowed to continue or should employers be required to pay? Should some internships be paid and others not? Please leave a comment below.