Week Three: The Informal Media Economy – Ramon Lobato & Julian Thomas

This reading explored the topic of work in the media industry. This is a topic that I’m very much interested in discussing as part of this course, so I was pleased to have it addressed in a reading – even though it didn’t do so in a totally fulfilling way. Lobato and Thomas describe how a lot of money can be made in the media industry, but very quickly concede that it is very often an industry of ‘insecurity, overwork, and low pay’. The fact that I can read this and fully believe it, yet still want to be attempt to work in this industry suggests immediately that money is far from central to my career goals. It is this ‘passion’ and want to do ‘something that I love’ that results in what the reading suggests could be ‘self-exploitation’ when it comes to things like unpaid internships. Lobato and Thomas go onto present several different views on the ‘creative labour debate’, where they find that ‘most accounts accept…that flexibility can be liberating and exploitative’.

Throughout this degree, it seems like it is kind of accepted that most internships will be unpaid. I don’t think this is unfair, as it seems fine to be valuing experience over money, but it is difficult to know when the shift to exploitation is occurring. This reading was successful in making me think about such ideas, though it didn’t exactly provide any answers – of which there are no easy ones.

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