Newsquest, publisher of local papers around the UK, has hit upon a bit of a wheeze. It wants to charge students £120 to produce content for its newspaper websites, without pay.
The Guardian reports that colleges with journalism courses were contacted by Newsquest with “an exciting and unique chance to experience working for a local paper”.
Apparently students would be getting the chance to “work” [there’s that word again] “as journalists for an online newspaper” – just without the hassle of having to provide bank details and national insurance numbers, or be put on the payroll. And all it would cost students and colleges for this “exciting and unique” opportunity to work for free is a £100 registration fee and £20 per student.
The commitment would apparently be fairly light, just one unpaid article per month, over a period of eight months, at the end of which “all students who complete all eight articles, receive a letter of recognition from the editor”.
Just think what you could buy with that.
Nothing. That?s what.
Good luck walking into a pub waving that piece of paper about on the last Friday of the month.
“I?ll have a pint of nothing and a couple packets of fuck-all please barman!”
“Coming right up! I?ll just need to see your letter of recognition from Newsquest.”
According to Newsquest these letters of recognition ? a sort of ‘certificate of exploitation’ – can be used “as a reference with their CVs”. And that?s not all. Students will also get their name in an “award ceremony brochure” as well, though you’d search long and hard to find a landlord who will accept a brochure as a damage deposit for a flat, or a supermarket who will swap it for a week’s groceries.