The National Union of Journalists has accused Newsquest of shady practices after it emerged that the newspaper publisher was charging students £120 a pop to have their work published in one of its titles.
In an effort to drum up business Newsquest’s Diana Jarvis wrote to colleges offering journalism courses to notify them of the opportunity, which would see the institution stump up £100 and the student a further £20 by way of a ‘registration’ fee.
Those with the money will be considered for ‘possibly’ having their work published in an online paper covering Greater London.
Jarvis wrote that accepted applicants would: “work as journalists for an online newspaper, writing one article per month for a period of eight months. All articles written are uploaded onto our local online paper, which covers the whole of Greater London. At the end of the scheme all students who complete all eight articles, receive a letter of recognition from the editor, which they can use as a reference with their cvs and their names go into our Award Ceremony brochure, which is distributed around London".
Commenting on the offer NUJ secretary Michelle Stanistreet, said: "While Newsquest is sacking professional staff on its titles, it is charging journalist students for writing articles for them. The unpaid intern has become the scourge of the media profession - now Newsquest is asking for journalist students to actually pay for a by-line. The company’s cynicism beggars belief and preys on young people desperate to get a break in a competitive industry.”