Tag Archives: interns

Meet the new guy

There was a major reorganization of office space at work, so I was already a bit disoriented, but I could have sworn I saw a reporter I’d never seen before. Who was this guy? Was he hiding at a corner desk and I just never noticed him for a year and a half? Had he just come back from leave of some sort? Had he just been hired?

I learned later that none of these things are true. He’s an intern, spending a few weeks at the paper writing freelance stories.

His name is Alex Leduc. He’s on Twitter and everything.

His first story, about non-Habs fans in Montreal, came out on Wednesday.

Now he’s working on chasing the Google Street View car. Which leads to the same question you ask of every dog who chases a car: what do you do when you catch it?

UPDATE (May 10): Here’s another story about an anti-capitalist protest. He had a third about hard-core Impact fans, but it’s unfortunately not online.

Metro expects journalists to work for free

In case you needed more evidence that news organizations are taking advantage of the naiveté of young journalism students to reduce their payroll costs, the Metro newspaper in Toronto has fired its paid staff and replaced them with but are keeping their unpaid interns.

One of these days, newspapers (especially crappy ones like Metro) will lose that prestige that allows them to abuse students who are so desperate to get into their dream career they’ll work for free.

UPDATE (Feb. 11): One of those laid-off journalists writes about his bosses escorting him from the building on his personal blog.

Empty nest

Interns once sat here.

Interns once sat here.

September is always a sad time around the office, though perhaps my opinion is somewhat biased because I’ve had two contracts run out during that month. It’s when veteran staff return from summer vacation, when new mothers return from maternity leave, when retirees return from the dead and when Red Fisher returns from suspended animation for the new hockey season.

The result is that understaffing issues suddenly disappear, and the young contract workers they bring in as temporary replacements are no longer needed.

That, combined with the summer interns returning to school or otherwise continuing on with their lives, means that a lot of young, talented people are leaving the office (and raising the average age back above “back when I worked at the Star” level).

It’s not all “tough luck kid, you fall off the ladder.” Some are leaving voluntarily and have other plans. A couple are going back to school (one to law school where he’s concluded that he can get a real career), three others are moving to Europe for some reason, and the rest have a vague idea of what paths their future careers will take.

It’s a fact of contract life, temporary work is by definition not permanent, but it’s still sad when the end finally comes. This past weekend I gave a big hug to a departing coworker who failed to escape the culling of temps and is already being missed by her colleagues.

Kate Molleson: Behold her adorableness (Gazette photo)

Kate Molleson: Behold her adorableness (Gazette photo)

One of the more visible faces to leave the office is Kate Molleson, who joined as an intern last year on the copy desk and has been blogging about cycling issues since April (she also wrote and blogged about classical music, because she’s just that much more cultured than I am). She has already left to London to study music, and gives her goodbye post in which she introduces three experts who will replace her on her blog.

Kate practices her Queen's wave

Kate practices her Queen's wave

By my count, the paper is losing five reporters, two copy editors, a graphic designer and at least one web editor. And they will be sorely missed, at least until next May when a whole new crop of interns and temporary workers comes in to fill gaps in the schedule.

(In case you’re wondering, I’m sticking around at least until January, assuming there’s no strike or lockout before then.)

Of course, since many of the people who leave the Gazette go on to bigger and better things, perhaps I shouldn’t feel so bad.

Intern season at the Gazette

This week is New Intern week at work, when the newsroom is swarmed by snot-nosed idiot kids eager young journalists beginning their careers with a summer stint at the paper, replacing the veterans who get to use their vacation time. There are four reporting interns, a copy editing intern (who started two weeks ago), an online intern, a photo intern and a design intern (the latter two will start within the next few weeks).

The reporters get the most attention though. In only a few days they’ve all already gotten their first bylines, in stories published in Wednesday and Thursday editions (UPDATE: I’ve added more features they’ve gotten in through the weekend):

The reporting and editing interns almost always come from Carleton and Concordia universities, due to the requirements that they know something about Montreal and they be able to converse in French. No exceptions here.

Place your bets now on which one of these will move on to reporting for Maclean’s/Globe and Mail/Time Magazine/New York Times, which will spend the rest of their lives in community newspaper obscurity, and which will eventually decide that PR/NGO work/selling crack is more rewarding and pays better.