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Have You Had to Turn Down an Internship Because You Needed to Get Paid?

Last month, we launched our investigation into the booming intern economy. We’re looking into companies that violate labor laws by staffing unpaid interns who function as regular employees.

But it’s not just about the interns who work for free. It's also about the thousands of people shut out of journalism, politics, the arts, and other fields because they can't afford to take unpaid internships on their climb to a career. The curators at Journos of Color, a journalism Tumblr, recently noted the cost of unpaid internships in the media:

If you’re wondering why it’s hard to find people from low-income backgrounds in elite journalism—which, disproportionately, means people of color—look no further than this. The only people who can afford to work full-time for free come from wealth, and generally, if you’re wealthy in America, you’re white.

The current internship economy raises issues of race, class and missed opportunities. Over 250 people have shared their internship story with us so far. But we also want to hear from you if your internship story is, “I can’t afford one.”

Have you changed career goals, or turned down opportunities because you needed to get paid? Help our investigation by filling out the form below. 

Alternatively - have you held an internship recently? Share your experiences with us.

Thanks for your interest; this project has been archived and we are no longer accepting submissions.

Christie Thompson

Christie Thompson was an intern at ProPublica. She studied journalism at Northwestern University, and has written for The Nation, The Chicago Reporter and

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