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Jeremy Cole Provides Commentary Regarding Legality of Using Unpaid Student Journalists in University Newsrooms

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December 20, 2018 | Student Press Law Center
Madison Dudley

Jeremy Cole was quoted in an article for the Student Press Law Center that discusses the practice of higher education institutions utilizing unpaid student journalists and questions whether experience alone is enough to keep students working for independent school papers. Many schools expect students to work long hours for little to no pay, or simply for academic credits and portfolio-building experience. Cole states that, while the Fair Labor Standards Act mandates the U.S. federal minimum wage at $7.25 an hour, “student journalists can easily be categorized in ways that allow the school to not pay them. Examples include classifying a student-run publication as a club, or giving student journalists primary beneficiary status.” The author interviewed several student journalists from across the country, along with a staff attorney and a communications labor union president.

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