An advert has been posted for five “Olympic media handling interns” who must be available for six-hour shifts between 6am and midnight, throughout the Olympic games. Despite working “full time”, and being responsible for “marshalling media pens” and “escorting foreign TV news crews” the interns will receive travel expenses only, as well as “food and drink during shifts”. (Wow, thanks for at least making sure they don’t die).

If you think that sounds like a raw deal, rest assured that these organisers of these internships feel they offer “a great, close up view of how media operate and the ‘news function'” as well as “a chance to say you were part of an Olympic media operation during London 2012.” How this helps these interns pay their rent (in London) is anybody’s guess. Here is the advert in full, posted by PR firm Place PR / High Speed 1 on media job board Gorkana on 6 July:

Olympic Media Handling Internship with PR Agency at Major London 2012 Hotspot
Recruiter: Place PR
Posted: 06 July 2012
Location: St Pancras International
Job Industry: PR, Journalist
Discipline: Broadcast, Media Training / Event, PR Agency, Press / Media Relations, TV / Radio
Function: Interns / Work Experience, Junior Press Officer, PR / Copywriter
Contract Type: Contract
Hours: Full Time
Salary: expenses only for travel between London zones 1-6, as well as food and drink during shifts.

Further information

St Pancras International will be the departing point for the high speed rail Olympic Javelin train and as such Place PR and HS1 are expecting not only high volumes of passengers but also a significant media presence from a range of both national and international broadcast crews.

We need five interns to assist in the following duties:
– General media handling
– Escorting media (particularly foreign TV news crews)
– Marshalling media ‘pens’
– General assistance to the Place PR / HS1 media teams

The Media Handling rota runs from 0600 – 0000 (6am to midnight) every day from 26 July – 13 August 2012. These timings have been split into 6 hour shifts but will mean some evening work and work at weekends.
It will be a busy time with a high level of demand on everyone’s resources. However, it will also be a great, close up view of how media operate and the ‘news function’ as well as a chance to say you were part of an Olympic media operation during London 2012.

It is an internship offer with Place PR / HS1 covering expenses only for travel between London zones 1-6, as well as food and drink during shifts.

Application prodecure: Applicants should send a CV and short covering email to:

Closing date for applications is 1200 on Friday 22nd June (some posts may be filled before that date)

Regular readers of Graduate Fog will know that this kind of thing makes our blood boil – especially the bit where they ‘sell’ the value of the experience, because they know deep down they should be paying a proper wage but they’re too tight to cough up. It should also be noted that even though these interns’ work is related to the Olympics, they are not Olympic volunteers. A large number of private companies are making huge sums of money from the Olympics – and having unpaid interns means they can maximise their profits, as they don’t have to trouble themselves with pesky things like wages for their junior staff. So we wrote to Place PR to demand an explanation:

To: Place PR
From: Graduate Fog
Re: Your Olympics internship – press query
Date: Monday 23 July, 4.32pm

Hi Rob,

I run Graduate Fog, the careers website for job-hunting graduates.

One of my readers has brought to my attention an advertisement for five interns to work six-hour shifts for your company (some at very unsocial hours of the day), being paid travel expenses only. Can you explain to me why these roles do not pay a salary – and exactly how you feel they fits with the national minimum wage law? It is clear from the job description that these positions involve real work – and not just work shadowing.

My users feel strongly that unpaid internships exploit those who do them and exclude those who can’t afford to do them. We are also concerned that rather than leading to junior, paid jobs, unpaid internships now seem to be replacing junior, paid jobs. Increasingly, the only people who benefit from them are the employers, who continue to get something for nothing.

I will be blogging about this tomorrow so would appreciate a swift response.

With thanks


Last night, we heard back from a representative at Place PR who assured us that our enquiry had been passed on to the Director of Media at High Speed 1. We have not heard anything since but will keep you updated.

Is it fair that this PR company is making money – but not passing any of that on to their junior staff? Have you heard of other Olympics-related internships? Are private companies taking advantage of graduates’ desperation to gain experience – and convincing them that working for them free is a brilliant opportunity to boost their CV?

Our new book How to Get a Graduate Job in a Recession is out now, crammed with tips and advice that every job-hunting graduate needs to know in 2012. The first chapter is free and if you don’t get a job after reading it, we’ll give you your money back – no joke!

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