Friday, 5 August 2011

Paying for labour: pay your interns and your stock photographers

Graduate Fog is part of one of many new websites aimed at helping graduates feel better about their unemployment by collating careers-related articles and advice. Despite the overwhelming about of websites that share the same aims, Graduate Fog still manages to have some interesting and useful contributions, and moans appropriately about the state of un(der)paid internships.

Unfortunately, they don't always seem to appreciate that "the creative types" also need to earn a living, and thus rather than pay for their iStockphoto they have displayed it along with one of their articles, watermark and all. Oversight? Edit: A reply from Tanya de Grunwald of is posted below, confirming that this was indeed an oversight. Apologies for jumping the gun on this one.

On a better note, I highly recommend their satirical intern glossary: Do You Speak Intern?. Highlights include:
  • SERIAL INTERN Intern who has completed several lengthy unpaid internships, has bags of experience but – crucially – no actual job.
  • INTERN SUFFIXING / PREFIXING Practice of putting the word ‘intern’ before or after a regular job title, thereby avoiding the need to pay this member of staff a salary for doing this job.
and my personal favourite given my current state of yearning for a minimum wage job:
  • NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE Formerly the rock-bottom wage that we agreed the lowest-skilled workers in society should not earn less than for their labour (cleaning toilets, etc). Today, the NMW is now considered a hefty salary by many interns who are used to receiving no salary at all for their work – despite having just spend £27,000 on a university degree.
Reply from under the break.

Thanks for pointing out this mistake - but I assure you that I DO pay for all my pictures! 

Honestly, this really was a simple error. I have just tried to work out how it happened and have seen that for some reason I have a watermarked version of the picture in my pictures folder, as well as a non-watermarked version (no idea why, I don't have that for any other picture). When I selected the picture to use for this story, I must have picked the wrong one (the preview window is small so it's easy to miss). And I didn't spot it once it was up, as I was too busy checking the text for typos. I have now replaced this with the non-watermarked picture - and deleted the watermarked version so I can't make that mistake again.

I completely agree it would be hypocritical not to pay for pictures considering the work I do campaigning for interns. Everybody should be paid a fair wage for their work - including those in creative industries. That's why I have paid for every single picture I have ever used on Graduate Fog, including this one of the feet in the pool. Please believe that I just published the wrong one because I am an idiot - not a thief.

I hope you and your readers will forgive me for this oversight?

Tanya de Grunwald
Founder, Graduate

PS. I have used this picture on several occasions before (where it appears without the watermark) so I hope that will reassure you that I have not just gone out and bought the picture because I got 'caught'! I'm pretty sure multiple uses are allowed? I am also no longer with iStockphoto - I now get my pictures from Shutterstock.

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