by MIA FREEDMAN
We have an intern program here at Mamamia and it’s going very well. We’ve recruited some amazing interns and they are doing all manner of fun, boring, exciting, repetitive, mindless, challenging, interesting things.
Just like in a real job.
So far, nobody has been asked to take off their clothes and pose for images so we can publish them online. So far.
The same cannot be said for The Sun, a British tabloid newspaper where their 21 year old work experience girl was asked (some have suggested ‘pressured’ – something the newspaper denies) to strip off and recreate the infamous Prince Harry naked Vegas shots with a member of staff who took on the role of the nude prince.
You see, the British press aren’t allowed to publish the actual shots so they did a reenactment for their cover (above). Those wacky Brits.
It featured The Sun picture editor Harry Miller posing as Prince Harry, and an intern, Sophie Henderson, as the girl cuddling up to him. The Sun denies it pressured the girl into it, and in a press statement the intern and Miller said,
For anyone worried about whether we were forced against our will to strip off, we are pleased to be able to set the record straight. Please be assured, there is no cover-up at Wapping. It was a bit of harmless fun and we were delighted to have played our part in making the readers laugh.
But the question remains: was it acceptable for an intern to take part? The Guardian reports:
On page 5 of Thursday’s Sun the paper describes “How we ‘heir brushed’ pic”, with a picture caption stating that Henderson and picture editor Harry Miller “dropped everything to recreate the Prince’s pose – after the Palace asked us not to print the real Vegas snaps”. It adds that the pair were “happy to strip”. One manager of a large media company, who did not want to be named, said it was highly unethical to get an intern to strip. “If we did that to a work experience person, we’d worry about finding ourselves in court.”
I once – famously – asked a work experience student at Cosmo to go out and buy me a banana for my son who must have been visiting the office at the time. Disgruntled, she went on to leave an anonymous comment on a gossip website which ended up making the Sunday newspapers on what must have been a deathly quiet news day.
It sparked a big debate here on Mamamia about what was and wasn’t acceptable to ask a work experience person or intern to do.
So. What’s the worst – or most unusual - thing you ever had to do on work experience? Was the experience of volunteering your sevice in exchange for an insight into a particular industry worthwhile?