A reader informed me of a great essay which everyone should read: How to Succeed in Journalism when You Can't Afford an Internship. The author, Alexandra Kimball, is a journalist from a lower-middle class background who made the mistake of trying to get into journalism, a career which I have pointed out before is only for people with rich parents.
Now although I have pointed this out before, as far as I know I am the only person in the entire world who has publicly written about this, until now. Why hasn’t it been written about before?
Well, it was strangely enough a revelation for me when I discovered that nearly all of the younger journalists working at the New York Times and other publications came from elite backgrounds and had financially successful parents. I think that most young people from the middle-class don’t understand how disadvantaged they are because young people from wealthier backgrounds don’t talk about their wealth or the help they’ve received from their parents. It’s kind of a taboo topic. It’s a combination of people wanting to present the impression to others and even to themselves that they’ve succeeded on their own, and an upper-class value that one should never talk about money. People from the middle-class might even cluelessly think that trust-funders don’t have to work, when the reality today is that it’s now considered very low class not to work—that’s for welfare people—and having a career demonstrates your superiority over the lower classes.
Kimball explains how it’s not just about the money needed to afford to work at unpaid internships while still living in an expensive city like Toronto, but about having the right attitude towards that work, which someone raised with middle-class values and who has student loan payments just cannot muster.
Kimball explains how she was only able to succeed in journalism after she inherited money from a relative, and somehow relieved of the burden of having to earn a living, she was finally able to establish a career. Kimball, therefore, is in the rare position of having been on both sides of the class divide, and maybe she now uniquely understands the psychological benefits of having money that few other people understand because they have only known one side of the divide.
Once again, this is a must-read essay. If there is one link you must click on, it’s the link to Kimball’s essay.