Media firms exploit work placement students, NUJ says
Work experience placements are being used to replace full-time paid positions within media companies, according to the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).
A survey by the largest journalists' union found that more than half of those who had qualified within the last five years had undertaken voluntary work experience after they had qualified.
Some of these placements had continued for six months or more; in addition, journalists felt that they did not receive adequate training or guidance while on the job.
More than half of respondents also thought the company would not have been able to function properly without the use of its unpaid staff members.
NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear said: "Demanding that people put in months of work for free doesn't help companies find the best journalists; it helps them find the ones that can afford to put in the hours without pay."
The NUJ represents the interests of about 38,000 members who work across a range of media companies, from newspapers to public relations, and includes illustrators and photographers.