• Interview with an Unpaid Intern

      Last week, I spoke to several hundred students at Fordham University.

      One student, who currently interns for FOX News, interviewed me and asked for my advice to aspiring journalists. You can read the interview here.

      Like many of my interns, she was smart and enthusiastic and seems to be learning a lot, which made me wonder: why does President Obama's Labor Department accuse those of us who give work experience to such unpaid interns as being "an exploiter"?

      The administration says that an internship is OK only if it meets six criteria, among them that the employer must get "no immediate advantage" from the intern's activities. In fact, the employer's work "may be impeded."

      Impeded? No immediate advantage?

      I'm in trouble then. I have an unpaid intern at FBN, and I get immediate advantage from his work all the time. I've had unpaid interns for much of my career and gotten lots of immediate advantage from them.

      Occasionally, I've been impeded - but the better interns did the research that helped quite a bit. Half of my staff today is former interns.

      Did I "exploit" them, too? Obama's Labor Department says it's hired 250 new investigators to catch exploiters like me.

      Whatever happened to the rights of contract and free association? If unpaid student intern and employer come to an agreement, both expect to benefit or it wouldn't happen. The student is no indentured servant. If the employer "exploits" the student, the student can quit. The contract ought to be nobody's business but theirs. Butt out, federal bullies.

      TAGS
      Labor