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How to tell when unpaid internships are opportunities, when they’re an abuse

By Tracie Powell

Ashleigh Atwell posed an interesting question to the NABJ List serve: How can you earn income while interning.

It’s a question many students and recent college graduates are asking, but it also raises an equally important question: How can you tell if that unpaid internship is really an opportunity that will benefit you or an opportunity for an employer to exploit free labor.

There are a couple of tests, and a few really good questions that interns should ask up front, to ensure that they get what they want, and what they need, from an unpaid internship. Check out this piece published by Poynter Institute that was inspired by Ashleigh. There’s also lots of good advice from fellow NABJ members! 

Tracie Powell is a contributing writer to and a Vice Chair of the NABJ Digital Journalism Task Force.