Very good points in here highlighting how this issue affects the industry from the base (interns) to the top (editors, managers, etc.).
Both my internships during my college years were unpaid. The first was in the summer of 2012 at a local TV station in Milwaukee. For housing, I worked as a summer RA on my college’s campus. For money, I worked as a bartender downtown (never a shortage of those jobs in Milwaukee).
My second internship was at a local TV station in Chicago, where I’m originally from. Fortunately, because of the close proximity, I could live at home with my parents and take the train into the city.
After college, the weight of student loans and cost of living limited my prospects. As you may know, if you want to be an on-air reporter in a 100+ market, you can make more money doing just about anything else. I have since put those prospects behind me for now and focused on producing
I did apply for an opportunity to work at NBC News in New York through a great program that is specifically designed to reach and recruit minority journalists. I made it to the last round of interviews in New York and fell short. But even if I was offered the position, they offered payment that would’ve made it nearly impossible for me to live in New York.
Today, I am fortunate enough to continue to be working as a journalist, but too often do I see talented people leave because the limitations caused by finances.