The television industry is notoriously hard to break into, for instance, so many people start out in part-time and unpaid positions. I doubt that Oprah Winfrey regrets her time as a lowly intern at the CBS station in Nashville. She’s in good company: Other famous former interns include Steven Spielberg, Carl Bernstein, Donald Trump, and Frank Lloyd Wright.
A common misconception is that unpaid interns provide “free” labor. But for a business, each intern costs real money to train and supervise. If the Labor Department tacks on a few thousand dollars in pay, it will no doubt convince many employers that interns just aren’t worth the trouble.