If you’ve been dreaming of an internship at Vogue, you better start rethinking your plans. In a pretty surprising move, Condé Nast has decided to discontinue its internship program starting in 2014.
Two interns, one at W and one at The New Yorker, sued Condé this past summer, claiming they were paid below minimum wage. That suit is still pending, but WWD is speculating that this was the impetus for Condé’s decision to nix internships.
The decision brings up a lot of issues and questions. Will other companies follow Condé’s lead? Hearst, which was also famously embroiled in an intern lawsuit, wouldn’t comment to WWD on the state of its internship program, but it’s conceivable that they could do something similar. Lawsuits are expensive and horrible for PR.
The other issue involves workload. Interns do a lot of lower level work at magazines (like handling samples–a daunting, time-consuming, but important task), so who’s going to do it now? Perhaps the company will hire more entry-level or assistant employees, which could be good news for job hunters new to the market.
The decision could have much bigger implications for the industry in the long-term. So many people in the fashion industry have parlayed their internships into amazing jobs, so if the internship model disappears, it could get trickier to navigate the system and network.
Condé Nast confirmed that the program had been discontinued, but would not comment further.