ALEX: Welcome. I’m Alex Balaj, and with me I have Sherry Yu. Sherry is about to create a series of podcasts and today she’s going to tell us what they’ll be about. Welcome Sherry.
SHERRY: Thank you, Alex, for having me. My podcast series will be about the issues around unpaid internships. My interest and passion about this topic came from last year where I took a course in topics: CCT490. And basically, we discussed the implications of some of the restrictions and limitations of the unpaid internship world where there’s bad working conditions.
Right now, unpaid internships are not really “jobs”. So they’re not really under employment law, so they’re not covered by healthcare or anything like that. They don’t really have a lot of rights. They don’t have any unions to look after them. They’re exploited by their employers. They have no job security, no benefits or anything.
ALEX: That’s wonderful that you’re getting into such a big issue that impacts so many people. There’s a lot of media coverage on this issue, which is great…My question to you is: are you planning on using any of these sound bites in your podcasts? Like any quotes from experts who have written books about internships and have been on those TV shows?
SHERRY: I think certainly I’m going to use something when I do the research. I may add things like interviews that surround this topic on the news or podcasters that have an opinion on this. I’m going to have some research on legal issues and also maybe the internship courses offered at the school or maybe I want to interview the professors that look after the internship program. But, I think, right now, I want to focus more on the student perspective because I think that’s where the real heart of the issue is.
ALEX: I know that you’ve had some experience with unpaid internships, are you planning on using your experiences in these interviews, at all, or just will it be other people’s?
SHERRY: I think right now it depends on how my other interviews turn out, so if I feel like my experiences correlate to what they’re experiencing, or they’ve experienced, then I may add it together to form a sort of overview picture.
ALEX: In the case that there still is a lot of hostility or still anger towards the company that provided the unpaid internships to the students you’re interviewing, will you use the real company’s name, will you use the real student’s name? And how are you going to prevent this from turning into a full-on rage battle against the unpaid internships and the companies that provide them?
SHERRY: I will definitely use pseudonyms for both the student and the company because I don’t want to focus the heart of the issue on the individual or the company themselves because I think this is a collective issue with our society.
So I think I will focus on their experiences and hopefully this will help companies to re-adjust their internship programs and not to point a finger at them.
ALEX: Great material, Sherry. Thanks so much for sharing and good luck with your podcasts.
This has been Alex Balaj interviewing Sherry Yu about her unpaid internship podcasts, something we can all look forward to in the weeks to come. Thank you for listening.