Today I want to ask you a question – one that remains unspoken, existing as an unwritten rule for the budding freelancer that should never be contradicted. A question many of us probably don’t have the balls to answer because of employment, reputation, or its consequences. But, you know what, fuck it. I’m going to say it, and live with the practicality it probably doesn’t do me any favours in the long run. So, dear world, I ask you, WHY, in the age of health & safety, risk assessments and equal opportunities are young journalists being exploited by the media system, and a number of people who justify unpaid labour as a consequence of austerity?
Yes, these are tough times, and yes we are all struggling. But stepping on the ambitions of those who spend years being trained by support networks, mentoring groups, and institutions founded for the good of the public isn’t doing any favours to the aspirations of a generation who’re already being fucked over by political austerity, face totally unpredictable futures, and cuts to their education.
Years may be spent teaching these young voices that they can be anything they dream of, but the reality is, they’re only training to be thrown into a system where they’re told they’re just a deficit of monotone voices, unworthy of any time, support or payment.
There’s an attitude in this system that all this work is for my own benefit. And that’s bullshit.
It’s sad, that in such a modern, controlled society such as Britain, that a corporation can be a manipulator of morals, teaching young journalists that it’s right that they should expect to work on a corporations behalf only to help add to their own experience. And it’s the individual corporations that rely on this attitude to make up their workforce, simply as a way of keeping costs to a bare minimum, and making those at the top more prosperous. Where is the line drawn between experience and reality? And why are a number of publications allowed to exploit this loophole?
Just think next time you’re buying that highstreet publication, and think what happened in the process of its production. Just as the high street technology or fashion manufacturers pay pence to the poor Asian communities, out west, the same suffering goes on daily in London. Is it morally right for these publications to knowingly operate without paying their labourers, because there’s a sense, or common ‘knowledge’ that working for free is the ‘only’ thing to do as a young journalist?
And is it fair that a generation, fucked over by politicians, the police, and mainstream society, be willing to accept that working for free is the only way to be ‘successful’?
So, I’ll ask you one last time. For the sake of myself, and the other young journalists I see struggling to make ends meet every single day. Can you really support a publication that exploits the young writers, media fiends, and creative people whose unpaid work mean these bastards still continue to exist, letting their publishers profit while it’s writers remain skint and fucked over?
No. Fuck off.