Should aspiring journalists work for free?

More than ever before, aspiring journalists are working for free to get a foot in the door.

One recent example are two CNN iReport journalists, whose unpaid efforts landed one a job and the other a journalism scholarship.

Does working for free help or harm the profession?

Should aspiring journalists work for free?

Yes! If Journalist is getting chance then why not he or She should ready to Learn in any circumstances because this will make there foundation strong for Future, If they will will do hard work it will pay back to them in the future as a Return and also it will help them to gain the Job in Broad Cast or in Print Media.


Sounds like a crazy question -- no reputable media, print or broadcast -- is going to allow someone to "work for free." The legal repercussions alone are downright scary.

Are there free training institutions for journalists?

Journalists all over the world struggle by coughing alot of money to get journalism training. That is to say education is very expensive which ought to be compensated at any cost. So, it is very unfair for someone to work for free. Even Internship has to attach a motivational package for the aspiring journalists to work hard and realize the financial benefits of their training and career. However, there are times when aspiring journalists have to work for free in order to market themselves. Possibly, this is during their training in colleges where they contribute opinions, feature articles or news stories to reputable news organisations as a way of marketing their skills.-Howard Mlozi, Blantyre, Malawi.

Working for free

My, my, my.. Of course you should work for free at the start of your career. I'm a touch flabbergasted at the suggestion that working sans payment at this stage of your career shows 'no respect' for your own work. In this industry (and most I can think of), you earn respect. I can hardly think of any journalists in the first year or so of their career whose work is beyond reproach, or worth paying all that much for. If you're worried it shows 'no business acumen', I'd suggest you should concentrate on 'business' and not 'journalism'. Every aspiring journo in their different fields should be prepared and willing for some unpaid work experience. If you're half decent, hard-working, willing to learn with a good attitude, you'll find paid work sooner or later. But if you're a total nuisance with a big chip on your shoulder and an unwarranted sense of self-importance.. you probably won't. Good luck.

Genuine work from a committed

Genuine work from a committed journalist is priceless. Yet we ought to sacrifice something before we get a firm foothold. But that should happen only when bosses of news organisations stop treating journalists like floor mats! In my country Cameroon the situation is dire!

Working for free = no respect for your own work

I have been an independent journalist in India since two years now and it is a lot of hard work, considering that I want to only write about human rights abuses. There is little scope for this kind of writing to get published; there is even lesser scope to get paid for one's efforts. I grappled with the question for a long time, if I should work for free. That was when I was unsure if I also wanted to work in tandem with grassroots movements, through my skills. But now I have realised (and happily) that my job is to write, to bring forth awareness. This is my job, my bread-and-butter. Just because I write about issues that do not seem glossy, it doesn't mean that everything works on goodwill. Pay me peanuts, but better pay. I cannot feed a hungry man while I'm still hungry.

I started off this way! And yes, it worked.

When I first started writing, I managed to land some commissions and got paid nominal fees.

To get published in bigger titles though, I had to prove myself. So I contacted the editor-in-chief of a first-class airline magazine, and offered to write for them at "no cost". I had only one condition - to get a byline.

I received a response, along with the publication's guidelines and requirements (business news for a start).

Soon after, within just 3 months of writing for free, I was asked to write a 3-page feature for them at their standard rate! I was finally in!

Most importantly, having my name in such a big title pushed me further to other titles at the same level. Now I realize that it was worth all the effort and a smart move that paid off.

Be patient, don't be greedy or rush, prove yourself first, and then start demanding. It doesn't take that long if you're genuinely good.

Free journalism is pure exploitation

I have been a journalist for many years - it is part of the way I earn my living. I have just been asked by the editor of a special needs magazine if I will submit 1200 words and 3 colour pix and of course they can't pay a fee but I will get a link from them to my website. Big deal! Does the editor get paid for his work? Does the magazine earn money from people who buy it? Without features there would be no magazine so why on earth should the provider of their content not get paid. Would I walk into John Lewis and say I would like to take away that frock but I can't pay you; instead, I will tell everyone that it's from your store? No, of course not, to all those questions. I am not just a journalist - I am running a business. New journalists should think about that before they embark on a journalistic career. You are running a business. You have expenses to pay, equipment to buy and you need money to re-invest and to pay for your food and lodging. Diane Paul, Manchester, UK

Being coerced into getting your name in print so you can show a porftolio to future contacts without remuneration is not a smart move, nor does it guarantee you will get any work because of it. Editors know which publications have not paid you. Anyone can write for free, you don't have to be a journalist to do that. It just shows your lack of professionalism and business acumen.

That's Exploitation

No matter what, News companies should not take advantage of freshers for granted. These people were trained to write and aspire to be like the media owners. When they are not paid, they are prone to corruption that is, accepting monies from people to write anything which of course is not healthy for the media. They need money to pay their ways to and fro their various work places and as well dress well too. They should be paid no matter how small or that would amount to slavery

Should writers write for

Should writers write for free? In a word, no. If you want to make writing your profession, don't give it away. It will backfire in the end.

Yes and No!

They should work only one month for free. This one month may be attachment. But after this period, journalists should be employed and be given salaries. I say this because they are human beings who want to have ends meet!

On the other hand, there is no business which is open and running for free. The man with goods, the service provider and the professional are all in one business form or the other. The man with the goods sells goods. The service provider like the broadcaster sells airtime by advertising and airing sponsored programmes. Meanwhile the owners of newspapers sell space. Similarly, journalists have to sell their skills and endeavors!

It is surprising if you are an owner of media outlet and you want a given journalist to work for you free of charge month in and month out. Aren't ashamed of yourself? To cut a long story short, I would like to ask the citizens of the world one question to think of with regards to this subject. That is 'if we say let journalists work for free, won't that seem to be a forced labor?'

This practice of forcing journalists to work for free so that they can be noticed as journalists should be stopped immediately!

By Qolof Labi Please send me your thoughts on my comment. My e-mail address is:

Working for free

Journalism is a profession where academic papers don't matter. What is of essence is getting that story, picture or video and telling/narrating/writing it in a way that the reader/viewer or listener feels he/she has witnessed the event. So if no one recognises the ambitious journalist, then working for free will provide a platform for recognition the person and eventually earn him/her a job.

should aspiring work for free

I think if one is desperate to get a job and feels that by working for free he or she can proof how qualified they are and push management to recruit them,then fine.on the other hand given that those who volunteer their services,actually contribute to fill the pages or air time,management can give them something if just for their transport.but the truth is working for free can push this aspiring journalist to ask for money from organisers. Nicoline Bih

Working for Free

Most institutions ask for experience as a necessary condition for recruitment.And since this may also be a true test of the Love for the Profession, then I subscribe to it.But with the exixtence of Quacks and then corruption as the single greatest challenge to professional Integrity today, some-one (most probably the Employer) should see into that this voluntary period does not end up in shame for both the voluntary worker and the institution.This is why maybe the Bible recommends that the Workman should be paid his due...Otherwise, how does he move about for work? I really wonder how many peolpe would not compromise when they are tempted with money and gifts at a time when they can`t afford their meals, medical and house bills. Ben - NUWEA

Great way to get foot in door

When I got out of college (back in the 90s) I submitted articles for free to amass a clip file in order to apply for entry-level positions. But now older and wiser, if I'm doing anything for free it will be on my website to show prospective employers I understand and know media convergence. Advice for the first responder trying to break into English speaking papers, create a Wordpress site and upload your articles. Your are published now and other people can link to your site. The upside is you're published and you get exposure. Visit

Should aspiring journalists work for free?

That's the story and the question of my life! I worked for two years as a journalist in my home country and I am now trying to build a portfolio in English. I refused working for free as I thought my work is really valued something and now I find myself with a few published items on websites that pay you based on the hits on Google Ads. Which is pretty much nothing. I don't think aspiring journalists should work for free and I will keep supporting this. I am just afraid I might be obliged to if I ever want to go back to journalism. It's rather sad!

good luck w/turning back the trend

there's a huge pool of free labor -- tons of people who are willing to write for free for a possible "foot in the door" or just to do it as a labor of love. News companies will continue to exploit this, I don't think there's much that can be done about it.


Most other professions don't require "free" apprentices. News organizations should pay if they want content, that's just how it works. Even interns should get paid -- minimum wage, maybe, but still paid.

i work on exclosive news

i am working already work at national newspaper has a news editor i desire i work with international newspaper but no approaches in my country i am young journalist i want any where reporting like Afghanistan Iraq sham and more disturb areas but i am filling boring in my life so any international newspaper call me so i am ready

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