Tumbling over the past year and a half has made me see the problems of gender roles that exist in media, but sometimes it gets to the point where I over analyze every single piece of television or film that I come across. (However this in no way means that I think feminist media criticism is wrong, or should be avoided!) Mostly I just over think everything.
#the new inquiry
Every other time I go out to eat with a group, be it family, friends, or acquaintances of whatever age, conversation routinely plunges into a discussion of when it is appropriate to pull out a phone. People boast about their self-control over not checking their device, and the table usually reaches a self-congratulatory consensus that we should all just keep it in our pants. The pinnacle of such abstinence-only smartphone education is a game that is popular to talk about (though I’ve never actually seen it played) wherein the first person at the dinner table to pull out their device has to pay the tab. Everyone usually agrees this is awesome.
What a ridiculous state of affairs this is.
The problem is that we have setup an implicit class system. Those that can afford to work for free readily accept unpaid internships that advance their future career because they have the financial backing to pursue such opportunities. Those that cannot work for free (and most likely accruing significant college loan debt) take whatever job pays. As the number of high quality and relevant paid internships is few, the result is they work in jobs that do little to advance their prospects. It is a two-tier system that locks people into tracks not of their own making and chipping away at our meritocracy.
Even worse is the fact that we are creating an implicit expectation that working for free is okay and an acceptable business practice. We couch this in talking about the valuable “experience” gained and that this is some “rite of passage”. Interns should feel “privileged” for the opportunity to work for these great companies for nothing. The undercurrent however is that we are essentially devaluing people, their talent, and their work. We are devaluing individuals over institutions.
PAY YOUR INTERNS. And your employees. “We’re a startup and can’t afford to pay contributors” means you either don’t have a sustainable business model, or you’re wrong and border and evil. Or both.
Pay Your Interns | Strong Opinions @marksbirch
"By plundering your own life for material, you are not investing in yourself as a writer; you’re spending the principal. Soon, it will all be used up. There is nothing more painful to watch than a writer desperately grasping at ever less-important aspects of their own lives in order to make word counts, until they must simultaneously eat lunch and be writing about eating that lunch at the same time. It is the most small-minded interpretation of “journalism” there is. It is sad…The extent to which we train a generation of young writers to become robotic insta-memoirists is the extent to which a generation of stories from the wider world does not get told. The real tragedy of journalism-as-narcissism is not the general pettiness of the stories it produces; it is the other, better stories that never get produced as a result."
"Producing investigative journalism on the web is not really hard (or any harder than it normally is) if you’re producing other content too i.e daily items about the latest news and trends. If your focus is purely investigations, you will struggle to build a web operation. The economics of blogging and online news publishing dictate that you must publish stories frequently. The average tech blog, for example, posts 10-20 short form articles a day. It’s how they increase their readership (and consequently, attract advertisers). But investigations can take weeks, months and years to complete. So unless you have a few hundred reporters working for you, you’ll never be able to post as much as TechCrunch. So you’ll struggle to build your audience and advertising base."
"A good chunk of the hostility toward Myspace comes from the grown-up versions of its adolescent and teenage users, who want to leave their high school selves far behind. There’s also the Silicon Valley contingent, where entrepreneurs and investors beat up on Myspace in order to disassociate themselves from its failure and align themselves with its vastly more successful conqueror, Facebook."
"Of course, the real reason that conferences succeed or fail isn’t in their programming but rather in their audience: the trick is to get enough boldface names on stage that a lot of important people want to come and mingle with each other…If conferences develop a reputation as a place full of people you want to meet, it pretty much doesn’t matter any more what happens in the panels."