Treat It Like A Real Job

A podcast series on the ethics and economics of internships in Canada

My name is Kevin Philipupillai and I’m a freelance radio journalist (and former unpaid intern) based in Toronto. I’ve produced pieces for The Current and for Tapestry on CBC radio.

Unpaid and underpaid internships have been in the news lately, and I’d like to dig deeper into the competing arguments we’re hearing. So I’m putting together a five-part podcast series on internships, titled “Treat it Like a Real Job.”

Here’s a clip introducing the project:

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My target audience: Young people looking to get into the workforce. Both those who can afford to think about unpaid positions and those who can’t.

Distribution: Free online and to any campus radio station or nonprofit youth organization, ready in time for the Labour Day weekend in mid or late September.

Crowdfunding: Since I’m producing this series independently instead of pitching it to a media outlet, I will set up an account with Kickstarter or Indiegogo to raise money to cover my costs. Nothing too ambitious, but enough that I don’t have to be my own unpaid intern.

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Here’s a quick sketch of what each episode would be about. I am looking for anecdotes and opinions and arguments, so if you have any you’d like to share please send them to DearOtherPeople@gmail.com.

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Episode 1: The Law

  • What are the rules, anyway?
  • What do you do with a law that most people ignore?

Episode 2: Employers

  • Are there companies which have built unpaid labour into their business models?
  • Should there be different rules for non-profit organizations?

Episode 3: Workers

  • Is the unpaid internship killing the entry-level job?
  • Why do young people disagree so strongly about whether underpaid internships are exploitative?

Episode 4: Schools

  • Are universities and colleges flooding the market with unpaid labour?
  • Are internship requirements being used as a loophole to avoid minimum wage laws?

Episode 5: Media Coverage

  • Which media outlets use unpaid or underpaid interns?
  • Has this affected their coverage of the issue?

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Again, if you have stories you’d like to share or if any of these questions has stirred up a rant within you, please send a note to DearOtherPeople@gmail.com.

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