opinion

Facts about the Mamamia Women's Network Internship Program.

Due to a large amount of misinformation in the media and on social media about Mamamia Women’s Network donating an internship for a charity auction, raising $10K, here are the facts:

Last month, Mamamia was asked to donate an internship at a charity auction MC’d by Ben Fordham.

The charity was Women for the World and this is how they describe their annual event on their website:

Women for the World is an initiative of a group of Australian women with a passion for social justice, and a belief that together we can empower women across the world.

The 2016 Sydney Women for the World event will again see women come together in solidarity with our sisters around the world to raise awareness and support for Caritas programs that empower those most marginalised.

Our guest speaker, Psyche Mae, will be traveling from the Philippines to share her personal experience of being a participant in the Caritas supported Urban Renewal Program. Hear about the transformation in her life, from living off a rubbish dump in Quezon City as a child to championing women’s rights as a social worker in Manilla.

Mamamia was not involved in the promotion of the auction item and was not responsible for the description of the internship as “priceless”. This was done by organisers presumably – and understandably- to maximise the amount raised for the charity.

The internship item raised $10K at the auction for the Women For The World charity.

MWN did not at any time propose to claim this as a tax deduction. This suggestion is absurd.

On our intern program more broadly………

We are hugely proud of our intern program at MWN. It has unearthed some enormously talented writers and budding young journalists from a diverse range of socio-economic backgrounds. But it comes at a net cost to us as a company. A lot of resources go into training interns and making sure they are getting something out of the opportunity.

Our intern program is very tightly run and involves an application process and interviews from the hundreds of applications we receive before we choose 10 interns for our program.

The program fully complies with MEAA guidelines.

MWN internships run for two weeks ( 1 day each week over the course of 3 months). Sometimes we offer an internship “intensively” in a two week consecutive period so that people outside of Sydney can have the opportunity to apply.

If it goes past the two week period, they are hired as casuals and are paid. In contrast, many other media organisations have seven week unpaid intern programs. There are companies who keep interns indefinitely, sometimes for years. MWN does not do this.

We provide a letter of recommendation at the end of the program.

Internships are not just for “rich” kids. This suggestion is patently untrue. Our interns come from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds.

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We employ at least 25% of our interns after their internship is completed. The industry average is 19%

Some of our biggest stars and valuable employees came from our intern program such as Rosie Waterland, Valentina Todoroska, Elissa Ratliff, Kahla Preston, Laura Hampson, Lauren Williamson, Stephanie Dickson, Michelle Andrews, Amy Cooper and Zoe Rochford.

Interns are allocated a mentor from our editorial team during the days of their internship. This mentor meets with them to look at their writing, help them hone their pitching and other skills required in digital media.

There is a significant resource cost to any business running a proper intern program. This is something the Federal Government has recognised in this week’s new Youth Employment Plan by subsidising employers who offer internships to the tune of $1000 for two weeks. MWN received no government support for our intern program.

It costs money to train people. It costs money to supervise them, teach them, encourage them and to give them opportunities to learn about your industry.

Our intern program is fully supported by the main universities offering communications, media and journalism courses.

Interns are encouraged to write while they are here and receive guidance from senior staff, but this content is rarely published on our sites.

We have 135 full time and part-time staff at MWN. 35 of these are journalists who create around 85% of our content. The remaining 15% comes from freelancers and contributors – who are also paid.

Mamamia staff photo, Sydney office. Image supplied. 

All our interns have the opportunity to attend editorial meetings and participate in our regular in-office Q&A sessions with senior industry leaders such as Leigh Sales, Annabel Crabb, Nigella Lawson, Lisa Wilkinson, Julia Gillard, Ben Fordham, Tom Malone, Cate McGregor, Caroline Overington, Osher Gunsberg and others senior journalists, industry leaders and media figures.

To make a donation to Caritas Australia and to support Women For The World , you can visit their website here.

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