I can honestly say this is the most bloggoriffic response i've ever gotten to anything I've written. By the professional opinion-mongerers, I've been called everything from "baffling...a funhouse mirror" to "unbearably lame" to a "manure-spreading puppet" (a farm implement used in Bali?). And oh--for some reason this annoys me the most--"hot."
There's a lot of boys out there with time on their hands.
On the other hand, I am someone's hero. And someone else is "with me all the way." And someone else thinks I have "great points." Who are these analysts? Surprise! They are current unpaid interns/struggling college students.
This person thinks I stole her idea. It's a good article, but no--mine was assigned on May 7.
Anyway. I think the following comment--the last comment on this post--restates the main (strongest) point of my op-ed quite clearly and well.
I made a bunch of suggestions in the piece of a new way of thinking about internships. This was intended for people to mull over and compare with their own experience--it was far from a policy proposal, as some literal-minded DC types seem to take everything, and no, I am not an economics PhD (although I did have one econ PhD read it before I submitted it). On those terms, I guess I am proud of the whole thing, namecalling and all.
Lindsay wrote: I think we can all agree that unpaid and underpaid internships are, on the whole, regressive. Working for free is a luxury.
It is becoming increasingly common for students to take these unpaid stints, not only in public policy and alternative media, but also for more "glamorous" jobs in profitable companies. For example, internships in the entertainment industry and the established media are frequently unpaid or very poorly paid.
This isn't just a problem for students and their families. It's a larger social issue. We complain about the echo chamber and the bubble effect in the mainstream media. Unpaid and underpaid internships are increasingly important part of people's career paths in these fields. This is bad for the media and for society at large because it discourages anyone who can't afford to give away their time.