‘We Only Get to Make a Hire Every Four or Five Years.’

by Jim Geraghty

Take a moment to ponder the irony in this statement, in an article on the lack of diversity in the staffs of liberal publications by Gabriel Arana in The American Prospect:

The stagnation of the industry also means there are few opportunities to increase diversity. “The staff here is unionized, which means there is little job turnover,” says Richard Kim, executive editor at The Nation, who is Asian American and gay.  “We only get to make a hire every four or five years.” Among the progressive publications I examined, The Nation scored the lowest, with slightly over 4 percent of its staff hailing from ethnic minority groups.

If unionization leads to fewer turnover and openings, and an anemic rate of new job creation… why would we want unionization to be as widespread as possible in our economy? Could our friends on the Left at least acknowledge that unionization of workforces at companies includes considerable downsides, and that not everyone who opposes unionization is some greedy, malevolent, ruthless little guy from Monopoly?

The article also notes, “While publications like The Atlantic and The Nation have begun to pay their interns minimum wage—in the case of the latter, after an intern revolt last year—most publications offer a meager stipend or do not pay at all. The New Republic, Slate, Salon, Harper’s, the Washington Monthly, and Vox’s* internships are all unpaid. The Prospect pays its interns a stipend of $100 per week.”

So just to refresh, magazines that furiously denounce those who oppose raising the minimum wage have people working for them who do not get paid the minimum wage. 

Do the editors ever assign the unpaid interns to research sweatshops?

* After this post went up, The American Prospect added a correction that Vox does pay its interns. Also, Jacob Weisberg says Slate does pay its interns and blames me for getting it wrong