We Need Help: Who Wants To Be My Intern

Hello Autostraddle! As you may have noticed, the human once known as Intern Grace is becoming a comic book star and therefore is unable to continue being my third arm / forever companion. So I need a new personal intern to fill the void in my heart and life. Hopefully Autostraddle can also fill a void in your heart/life! It’s sort of like working at a gas station except also not really and only if you’re really passionate about gasoline.

You should be:

  • Funny. Seriously. Also: clever.
  • A photoshop superstar able to quickly make graphics
  • An expert on all things Autostraddle
  • An expert on all things lesbian internet
  • On top of important entertainment and pop culture news relevant to queer women, especially television
  • Detail-oriented
  • A better speller than me
  • Dependable
  • Really good at social media
  • Excellent at finding information on the internet
  • Competent at HTML and online blogging platforms

You also need to be located in the U.S., since the job involves a lot of U.S television and you’ll need to communicate with me while I’m working.

This job will include:

  • Research
  • Making screencaps for 2-3 TV shows / week (for me and the other recappers)
  • Making bizarre graphics for recaps and other articles (for example)
  • Writing posts, if you so desire
  • Making quote graphics to share on social media
  • Helping to put together megaposts like the Hot 100 and 100 Best LGBT Books
  • Functioning as my personal assistant at A-Camp

[That list formerly included “copyediting and fact-checking my posts” but I realized that’s not a thing I had Grace do until she was a paid employee, and I feel weird about someone doing it for free, so I removed it.]

Also: SO MANY OTHER THINGS! A lot of this really depends on your skill set. Grace was hired to do screencaps but turned out to have many other skills and talents! We expect the same thing will happen with you. You can expect to spend 8-15 hours a week on Autostraddle stuff, but we’re flexible.

In the past, Intern Grace’s job has involved a dynamic assortment of duties including:

  • Bringing me dry cereal and ice water when I was sick in bed at A-Camp
  • Photoshopping 20+ fictional characters and celebrities on top of a screenshot of Romi Klinger entering Whitney Mixter’s door
  • Making a playlist inspired by a picture of Kristen Stewart
  • Reading my mind
  • Figuring out if somebody else has already written about a thing I wanted to write about
  • Serving as my go-to source for What The Kids Are Into These Days
  • Talking to me for hours about Glee and The Real L Word

To apply please submit the following materials to riese [at] autostraddle [dot] com by Monday, October 27th:

  • A cover letter explaining why you wanna do this, what your availability is, what you’d like to get out of this internship. Also include links to your tumblr and/or twitter and/or instagram.
  • Amy and Karma from “Faking It” photoshopped onto the Thelma & Louise movie poster
  • A birthday card for Stef! Here are some examples of the kinds of cards we make for our staff for their birthdays. Be creative and use what you know about Stef to make the perfect card.

selfies

bren
hat-benatar

We do believe that every publication who can pay their interns, should. Unfortunately we can’t, because we don’t have enough money. (And yes, we’ve tried to make this money! We barely have enough money as is to pay our six full-time employees, three part-time employees, eight subject editors and 20 writers… and last time we ran a fundraiser to pay our writers, it didn’t even meet its goal of $10k. There’s nothing that matters more to me than paying these humans and the second we’re able to pay our intern, we will, and you can help expedite this process by joining A+, donating, buying merchandise or shopping through our affiliate links.)

But Intern Grace eventually did become a full-time paid employee by the end of her run here, and that could very well happen to you!

However, you will get:

  • Incredibly flexible hours
  • Love
  • College credit if this is a thing you want and a thing we can help you get
  • Experience with the very innermost workings of online lesbian media
  • An opportunity to write for Autostraddle (and get paid per-post)
  • Free A-Camp
  • Free and discounted Autostraddle Merch
  • Free A+ membership
  • Opportunities for advancement and taking on more responsibilities

I am excited to meet you!

Before you go! 99.9% of our readers don't support Autostraddle. Still, it takes funding to keep this indie queer publication running every day. And the majority of our funding comes from readers like you. That's less than 1% of our readers who keep Autostraddle around for EVERYBODY. Will you join them?
Related:

Riese is the 39-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2886 articles for us.

65 Comments

    • online! i’m probably leaving the bay area within a year anyhow. of course, anybody willing to live in a hypothetical cottage in my backyard for the rest of my life with photoshop always open on your laptop regardless of where I live would have a leg up over the competition

  1. Well, I’m good at interning. And interneting. And especially lesbian interneting. And Knowing What The Kids Are Into These Days. And I can be clever and dependable. I’m good at research, and doing jobs that are odd in any sense of the word. But curse you, universe, for making my grandmother the technology know-it-all of the family. I couldn’t skillfully use photoshop to save my life.

  2. So I am so absolutely perfect for this job it kills me. My only downfall being location. I am, however, going to submit such a beautiful application that our time difference will be the smallest of problems and, actually, you’ll wonder why you never hired a world-travelling intern before…

  3. Your well-intentioned mention that you believe you should be paying your interns does nothing to the grossly unethical practice you have here of essentially requiring someone to work full time (someone skilled, qualified, to do a lot of assistant duties) is not only illegal, it’s disappointing when you consider the massive wage disparity between straight and LGBT youth.

    If this is truly the job description, find it in your hearts to pay minimum wage. Hold a bake sale. A Kickstarter. Anything. This is really sad to me. Do you realize how many people you are taking an opportunity away from because they require money to live? Do you realize how many people within your own demographic you are taking that opportunity away from?

    I really love the spirit behind this site, but this is no better than Wall Street mortgage fraud.

    • I think holding a fundraiser is a great idea. I don’t blame Autostraddle for not having the money to pay currently, but I feel like this site should at least make a good faith effor to raise some money for that purpose before declaring it impossible. I know a lot of readers would be willing to make a contribution towards a fund for interns. I know I would. I’ve completed many unpaid internships in the past few years (I was able to because I had access to student loans and family support), and would not have been able to get the (paid, finally!) job I have now without them. I’d love to help give someone else a similar opportunity.

      • We’ve actually made every effort we know how to make to raise enough money to pay our employees fairly! In addition to writing this site and managing its community, we sell merchandise, run events, solicit donations passionately (there’s a donate button in the sidebar) and recently launched a membership program. We’ve busted our ass to make all these things happen. Still, we’re barely scraping by. The ads running on the site are through networks, making us about $50/day (for a website that costs $700/day to operate, almost all of that money going to LGBTQ writers and editors). I don’t even think we’re going to be able to pay our six full-time staff members (who all work over 40 hours a week), three part-time staff members, eight subject editors and 15 writers in two months without running a fundraiser or a membership drive. Most of our writers are still unpaid, but they deserve to be paid. So that’s already in the works — but not ’til January, because when we fundraised to rebuild the website at the end of 2012 that screwed us on taxes.

        We have no investors, advertisers, or corporate support — unlike many other publications who also hire unpaid interns. Last year, I did a fundraiser to pay our writers with a goal of $10k. I even offered to personally bake cookies and make cards for donors. The fundraiser, which was explicitly advertised as a fundraiser to pay the people who work here, didn’t meet its (very modest) goal. We are stretching every dollar as far as it can possibly go. There’s no elbow room. Not one inch.

        We started paying our writers anyhow, thanks to one very generous donation and then me working so hard earlier this year that I had an actual mental breakdown! So trust me when I say there’s nothing more important to me than paying LGBTQ humans to work here. Nothing. My entire life is devoted to getting money to pay the people who work here, at the expense of my health, social life, and my own economic well-being.

        It’s also worth mentioning that fulfilling perks for these fundraisers — like anything we promise to do besides writing — is another huge undertaking for a staff that’s already spread really thin just trying to meet the needs of our readers on this website every day, and compete against sites with millions in venture capital and huge corporate funders.

        There are lots of people out there who love this site and want to contribute their time to it, and that’s who this is for. The things this intern would do are things that need to get done, which right now means that the underpaid full-time staff I just mentioned are working overtime doing it ourselves. I didn’t want to hire a new intern because I hate not paying people, but I realized that having me or other full-time staff do this work unpaid isn’t any better.

        If you want to support the financial well-being of everybody who makes this site exist, you can do that right now by donating (there’s a button in the sidebar!) or joining A+ !

        (also 10-15 hours a week isn’t full-time!)

        • I get it, and my comment wasn’t meant as criticism. I should clarify that I disagree with Carolne that unpaid internships are inherently unethical. Some places just don’t have the money and I don’t think it’s necessarily preferable to withhold the opportunity from everyone when there are people who would jump at the chance to work for free.

          That said, I still think she had some good points. If it’s too much work to send out perks to contributers, then do something with no frills. I don’t think most people donate to causes they care about for the free t-shirt anyway. Honestly, even if you only raised a few hundred dollars, that could make a real difference to someone with a low income. An extra $100 a month would help keep food on the table for someone struggling to make ends meet. I know Autostraddle will pay its interns a living wage as soon as that becomes possible, but there are options in between that and no monetary compensation.

          I realize people can donate now, and I plan to once I get my first paycheck (I just started my new job last week!). However, sometimes – irrational or not – it feels better to give to something specific where you can really see where your money’s going (like funding a specific internship). Anyway, it was just a thought. I’m sure the internship will be a wonderful experience regardless!

        • i see what you’re saying! let me do my best to explain how this works for us and why things might not be as they appear: the difference between other organizations that don’t pay interns and us is that they’re able to pay everybody except the interns. we’re still not able to pay everybody who contributes to this community. there are so many people standing in line waiting for their paycheck or raise already — people who love the site and community and are happy to contribute, but people who also deserve payment.

          so here’s the situation: we have to spend money to make money. lets say our money we’ve made is X, guaranteed revenue flow is Z, venture capital/investors/owners-with-money is Y, and all the people expecting paychecks on the 18th of the month are The Team, and the amount those paychecks will cost the company is O. when you start out without any Y, you can’t even hire anybody to be on The Team until you have enough X, but you can’t make any X without any Team. It’s a conundrum!

          so everyone works for free until there is some X. If in the fourth month, X = $500, you can’t hire a $500/month employee — you need at least $3,000 in X or in Z to add that employee ’cause you shouldn’t hire one you only have enough money to pay for one month. you need to know you have at least six months. i’ve never not had enough money in the bank on payday to pay my employees — ever. and i’ve written for plenty of people who can’t say that! we’re not in debt, and i don’t ever want to default on a financial promise i made to somebody.

          but when autostraddle has gotten so large and complicated (and involves so many more Xs and Zs than any human could ever comprehend) that we need more Team even without six months of X or Z to cover that larger O, sometimes we just have to cross our fingers and increase the O with only two months of X or Z in the bank. but until i have that six months of X+Z lined up, i can’t add anything else to O. and i will get that six months of X + Z. i will. i always figure it out, and quickly too! but it’s a delicate process.

          beyond that there are a few other financial commitments i’ve already made for when i finish saving up for that aforementioned O: to pay the saturday morning cartoonists, to give the QTPOC speakeasy a budget, to pay all our contributing writers and to give the subeds a budget. we also need to upgrade servers.

          so when all those people are waiting for their turn in the funding line, i can’t in good faith start a fundraiser for an intern. because why not all those other people first?

          we do get a LOT of people who do want to help autostraddle because they feel autostraddle has helped them, and they think it would be fun, and we always have. we haven’t solicited for “interns” in a long time, but we still get applications all the time from people who want to know if there’s any way they can help, just wanting to be involved.

          rarely have they been financially fortunate, which’s why we’re super flexible with scheduling and expectations. i know that narrows the field of who can do this, but a lot about how we have to operate isn’t how i want us to operate. but we’re just doing the best we can. nobody has to apply to be our intern, and nobody has to think it’s fair, because it isn’t. (also if our intern was ever unable to eat, we would send her money immediately! i’ve bailed our unpaid workers out of emergencies and sent unasked for money i knew they needed tons of times, i just don’t exactly advertise it. keeping that emergency fund around is important to me too.)

    • Caroline is right;
      http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.htm

      I’ve held 3 unpaid internships during and since college and I no longer believe they’re ok.. They’re unethical in the most hidden, subversive way. Among other reasons, the existence of entry level jobs for creative professions tend to be replaced with intern labor. Unpaid contributions to any sort of profitable content should only exist as volunteerism for nonprofits.
      Despite good intentions, and surrounding financial issues, Autostraddle should do better..

      • They are illegal when they are put in place of paying jobs or asking for unpaid work now to guarantee a paying position in the future, but this is an unpaid intern filling in the role of another unpaid intern. I think it was clear that if there is no unpaid intern, the job doesn’t go to someone for money, it just doesn’t happen. And she also made it clear that there was no guarantee of future payment (basically for anyone). I don’t think this is one of the illegal unpaid internships.
        Plus you can do it for college credit, which otherwise you spend money on getting, so it could maybe even cancel out.

      • “Despite good intentions, and surrounding financial issues, Autostraddle should do better…”

        but how can we? like there is no actual way to do better because of the financial issues. it’s so much easier said than done. this stuff is so hard for me because i seriously want to pay EVERYONE. i want that more than anything in the entire world. and it fucking sucks that i can’t and it is the #1 thing i’ve been sad or upset about for 5+ years. we’re gonna try a fundraiser again in january and hopefully then we can start paying once we fund the other things i mentioned that are in line.

        we get lots of emails from readers who want to help out — i’ve had ppl wanting to screencap for me for the last 7 years. they love the site & community and want to be involved, even if we can’t afford to pay them. i felt weird about making an “internship” posting, but considering the literally hundreds of emails we get from readers asking about how to become interns — it seemed like this was something people wanted, even though we stopped advertising for interns about two years ago ’cause we decided it was unethical. people still applied to be interns anyhow, even when we stopped asking for them!

        meanwhile there are companies out there that use internships to avoid paid labor, who truly take advantage of their workforce, who require 25-40 hours a week, who work with colleges to funnel kids in to these programs. i had an internship like that at US Magazine, where I worked 9-5, three days a week, for free. i’ve worked like five free (or almost free) internships, and just worked a lot of hours elsewhere to make ends meet. at the time it seemed unjust, but now that i’m CFO of my own business, i totally understand why it was done that way.

        we don’t require certain hours or for our interns to show up to a physical location — they can work from home in their sweatpants whenever they have a chance with a very minimal time commitment. i know zero internships like that. we offered doing whatever it takes to give someone college credit if that’s what they want. our interns do learn a lot about online media — and i asked what they wanted to get out of it because we want to be able to give it to them. we often give out holiday bonuses and financial or other gifts whenever we can, and offer opportunities to cover events and write posts (for money!). many of our interns have gone on to paid positions (bren, laura, rachel, katrina, chelsey and grace, among others).

        i just don’t know how to get it all done, none of us do. this is why there is still no podcast or recamps. maybe we shouldn’t have used the word “intern”? we’re not conde nast, you know?

        none of us are getting rich here, including me, and all of us have put in a billion free hours. i’ve had offers to be elsewhere and make actual money, but i stick around ’cause this community has given me so much and the work we do is in fact really fun! and i love our team, paid and unpaid, and i believe we’re on the road to being able to pay people what they deserve.

        • “we get lots of emails from readers who want to help out — i’ve had ppl wanting to screencap for me for the last 7 years. they love the site & community and want to be involved, even if we can’t afford to pay them”

          I just wanted to throw one perspective in there to back this up. I am an unpaid autostraddle intern. I agree with the general criticism of unpaid internships if they are doing work that would otherwise be paid, and maybe AS could use a word that isn’t intern to describe this position.

          But I fucking love being an autostraddle intern. I’m lucky enough to have a paid full time job and I’m so happy that outside of that I also get to support, in a teeny tiny way, keeping this incredible community running that has seriously fucking changed my life for the better. and if there are others out there who can also afford to help and want to (again, no one is forcing anyone to apply for or do this work), then how can this possibly be a bad thing?
          I need to reemphasize this point: I am enormously privileged to have the time and financial stability to do this. If it was possible for this to be a paid job, I would want someone to have it who needs it. Since that is not possible, I am legitimately happy to do it instead, and I will continue to support this community however I can because I really, really want it to continue to exist.

    • Y’all. Family. Stars in my sky. I am sad. A few months ago, we announced A+, our big community-based initiative to make the site financially sustainable so we could do things like pay people justly for their work. We soon found out we were evil capitalists for creating a program that might exclude some people based on inability to pay. This week, we are evil capitalists for admitting that we can’t afford to pay all the people who do amazing and valuable work for this site and asking someone to volunteer to do some needed projects with some pretty great perks – free A-camp, free A+ membership and the opportunity to write for $ aren’t nothing (certainly far more awesome than compensation I received at unpaid media internships I’ve done). Our financial picture is a bit bleak, but we all and especially the senior editors believe so much in AS and our community. But it feels like we can’t win in our efforts to keep this thing alive, unless we’re all willing to just be dead ass broke, way overworked, and silent about it. What should we do? I dunno. I just know I love this site and all its words and all its people and its commenters and readers and campers. Y’all are just as much a part of the site and making it better as we are. Some people support the community by commenting and reading. Some support by giving their money. One person is going to do so by making hilarious photo captions and photoshopping pictures of the staff onto the cast of But I’m A Cheerleader. We ALL wish we could pay that person. We all wish the full time staff made an actual livable salary. We’re working on it. Please help us instead of launching angry words at us or doubting our intentions. All my love xo

    • THIS ISSUE IS VERY IMPORTANT!

      Some general responses to the justifications given for this unethical internship:

      -This is a violation of the USA’s DOL labor guidelines which Marilee listed below. Corressponding with the numbered guidelines: 1+2) Unpaid internships are supposed to be learning experiences. They are legally intended to be training or education. This job requires someone enter with the skills they need. There is no learning in this job post. 3) The job description is for a graphic designer/personal assistant. Just because it is replacing another unpaid intern does not mean that a potential worker is being displaced. It just means that the first internship was also guilty of this. 5)There is a vague “maybe we’ll hire you afterward” line followed by “but actually we have no money so we probably won’t hire you.”

      -College credit costs money.

      -We live in a capitalist system where, if you can’t afford something, you don’t get to have it. Saying that Autostraddle has weak finances does not entitle it to unethically gained unpaid labor.

      -If people are willing to photoshop stuff for free, that is great! Those people are called volunteers. Ask for volunteers.

  4. I want to be your intern Riese but the only things I would do are bring you dry cereal, talk to you incessantly about Pretty Little Liars, and copyedit. Is that acceptable? One out of the three of those is an actual skill…

    Also I can’t show anyone my twitter, all I tweet about is whiskey and quesadillas. Social media is hard.

    Good luck on finding an intern though! Working at the Autostraddle Gas Station is definitely not an opportunity to be passed up!

  5. There’s this girl in my program who from what I can tell could likely fill all the tech just I dunno about rest. She’s gay and just walked up to me the day y’all covered the Samira/Lauren story which I was reading to say hi and stuff out of the blue. It was adorable and awkward. SamLairen is a queer lady homing beacon I tells ya.

    We have a class Monday Imma make doc to hand her or something.
    SOMETHING.

  6. look i know you don’t want canadians applying, but we have the same time zones and some of us are super amazing at photoshop.

    i mean, i’m not one of them, but surely at least one canadian has figured out the clone stamp.

  7. I LIVE IN AUSTRALIA BUT I’M PERFECT except for having no time due to having a one year old.

    I REALLY LIKE DRAWING CATS. I WILL DRAW YOU GUYS CATS FOR FREE OK. ALWAYS HAPPY TO DRAW CATS FOR YOU.

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