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Publishers urged to protect trainees from slave labour

first_imgPublishers urged to protect trainees from slave labourOn 25 Nov 2003 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Publishing companies are being urged to sign up to a code of conduct beingdeveloped to protect trainee journalists from widespread ‘slave labour’practices. Anecdotal evidence collected by the Periodicals Training Council (PTC) – thetraining division of the Periodical Publishers Association (PPA) – suggestssome companies either ignore or exploit the minimum wage. Tales have reportedly included one trainee who was forced to take out a£10,000 loan to support her during a six-month unpaid ‘work experience’ stinton a glossy UK magazine. In response, the PPA is devising the code of conduct, which is expected tohit HR departments in the new year. Lindsay Nicholl, editor-in-chief of Good Housekeeping magazine and chair ofthe editorial training committee of the PTC, said the code would cover issuessuch as expected duration of work experience, when it is appropriate to offerpay and/or cover expenses, and how to draw up learning agreements to be signedby both employers and trainees. Addressing industry delegates in London at the PTC’s New Journalist of theYear Awards, Nicholson said that if the practice continued, magazines wouldsoon find themselves faced with the ‘Selina syndrome’ – staffed only byjournalists from an upper middle-class background, because only their parentscould afford to keep them while they worked for little or no income for monthson end. Meanwhile, Alistair Campbell, Downing Street’s former director ofcommunications and strategy, lambasted declining journalistic skills andstandards in the UK. Speaking at the Marketing Society’s annual conference in London – in a rareappearance following his resignation earlier this year – Campbell said theadvent of 24-hour news had made newspapers move downmarket and had leftbroadcasters with so much space that they had nothing to fill it with. Commenting, Chris Frost, chairman of the Association of JournalismEducators, said the number of trainee journalists had probably tripled in thelast 15 years. He argued journalistic standards had increased, but agreed that manytrainees came from the middle classes and, because their parents could bankrollthem through low-pay or no-pay work experience, they were ripe forexploitation. By Penny Wilsonlast_img read more