In late May 2013, I was one of twelve interns who completed a five-month editorial internship at The Nation. In a parting open letter to the magazine's editors and funders, we demanded a raise for interns, who were working full-time on a measly $150 weekly stipend.

Around the same time, interns on the set of the film Black Swan sued Fox Searchlight Pictures for back wages, alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.1 Between 2011 and 2014, unpaid interns filed roughly three dozen lawsuits against their employers, according to ProPublica.2 The flurry of lawsuits put pressure on many publications to change their ways.

The Nation responded to the public letter by paying New York State's minimum wage to the intern cohort that arrived in the fall of 2013, a historic change in the thirty-year-old program. The New Republic followed suit, while others such as Condé Nast...

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