I’m glad that my days of slaving away for nothing for large media corporations are over.
When I hear news like this – that execs at the BBC won’t be receiving any bonuses this year – I feel positive. Not because they are earning way to much money when compared to other professions (unsurprisingly, banking comes to mind), but because of the way the BBC treats junior staff.
I have no huge qualms with the BBC – and others – keeping journalists, for example, on a freelance basis. But the fact is that when it comes to ‘work-experience’ (often more work, less experience), the BBC could not even run itself if it didn’t have access to this unpaid workforce. Each year hundreds of eager young hopefuls pile in, do a month for a patronising scrap of paper, and get spat out again. The lucky ones meet the right people and score a job. The medium-lucky ones learn a lot. And the rest think ‘you jammy bastards.’
If we’re not careful, we’ll end up having a system like Germany’s, where young people end up going from ‘Praktikum’ placement to placement until they’re thirty years old, never once offered a proper job with proper money. In Germany, across many professions, as in the UK’s media industry, this leads to one type of person being able to work in the media, and therefore journalism – ‘rich kids’ if you like, or more accurately, well-off people. What we do not need is an entire journalistic class based entirely of people who can afford to work for nothing because their parents are able to assist them through this period. As a disclaimer, I don’t think I could have got the experience under my belt I have at this point in time if it weren’t my parents lending me large sums of cash to do so. But there are plenty of others who won’t get that chance. So the more cuts for those at the top of the BBC ladder, the better. Try paying those on the first rung!
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