Mail Online accuses The Tab of 'hatchet job' as site reports high drop-out rate for graduate scheme - Press Gazette

Mail Online accuses The Tab of 'hatchet job' as site reports high drop-out rate for graduate scheme

Mail Online has accused The Tab of a “hatchet job” as the website for students quoted numerous unnamed sources complaining about the workplace culture at the world’s most popular newspaper website.

The Tab reports that ten of the 16 graduate trainees who joined the Mail Online’s graduate scheme in 2016 had already left.

Mail Online has confirmed that those who leave early from the scheme can be asked to repay up to £1,500 to contribute to the cost of their training.

The Tab investigation follows Press Gazette’s report in August about the “ripping culture” at a national newspaper website leading most of the graduate trainees to leave for a career in PR.

The Mail Online graduate scheme lasts a year and includes two months on a news agency and two months working for a local newpaper before returning to the Derry Street headquarters.

The Tab quoted one former employee as saying: “On the grad scheme you get the shit shifts. You will work through the weekend, a lot of us were working nights, 5pm-2am, Friday to Tuesday, or Thursday to Monday.”

Another said: “What you actually do all day is take an article from a news agency, and copy and paste it over to your article, and then add bullet points and captions. That’s about it really.

“You’re given an hour to do an article and any longer they start getting pissed. They expect eight stories a day.”

They added: “People get bollocked all the time, it wasn’t just us, everyone gets bollocked. I didn’t really have a problem with editors telling you ‘this is shit, you need to redo it’. People are highly strung, it’s a high pressure place, and people should be prepared for that.

“Frankly, after a couple of times, it toughens you up. But it does beat you down. You go into work hoping not to get bollocked as opposed to hoping to be told ‘this article was good’ or ‘that was a good idea’.”

A Mail Online spokesperson said that it “makes no apologies for being a demanding place to work”.

They said: “Each year Mail Online offers recent journalism graduates placements in its trainee programme, giving them the unique opportunity to learn from the best and brightest in journalism.

“This is a robust and demanding programme that sets them up for success as journalists at both Mail Online and throughout their career.

“Trainees are advised that this programme will be both extensive and exhaustive and that a website that reports the news 24 hours per day, seven days a week will involve working weekend and evening shifts.

“Mail Online invests substantial sums in the first-class training course it provides, which is respected industry-wide, so it is only reasonable should a trainee leave before making a contribution to the website then they will be liable to repay some of the costs associated with the training course.

“This is up to a maximum of £1,500, depending on their length of time in the programme.

“We have high standards which is why we are the biggest English-language newspaper website in the world and why our alumni populate the higher echelons of many other leading news and entertainment websites, both in the UK and US, and why our model has been imitated multiple times but never equalled.”

The Tab said it had quoted Mail Online “in full” however it omitted the following section of the quote:

“This is clearly a hatchet job to please The Tab’s new investors. We are amazed you do not have the integrity to declare your interest after accepting millions of dollars from News, one of our biggest competitors.”

Last month Sun publisher News Corp and Balderton Capital were the main investors behind a $6m injection of funds for The Tab.




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9 thoughts on “Mail Online accuses The Tab of 'hatchet job' as site reports high drop-out rate for graduate scheme”

  1. This is not a ‘hatchet job’ – it’s absolutely true. It has been the culture of the Mail Online to use cheap graduate labour for around 10 years. Even freelancers get treated terribly. Five years ago the Mail was paying £100 per shift. £100?! for working on the ‘world’s most popular website’ and that would be for working a horrendous 5pm-2am shift. The unnamed sources quoted in this article suggests nothing has changed.
    The Mail needs some PR help as their quotes in response to this article are utter nonsense.
    How is it ‘investing substantial sums in first class training’ and providing ‘high standards’ when graduates with no experience start working for them after four months work experience on an agency or local paper?!! Absolute joke.
    What’s really happening here is graduates arrive excited at getting a job at Mail Online as a first job then realise the working conditions, hours and pay are terrible and ‘think bugger this I’m off’ and treble their pay in PR which is a far more honest job and meaningful than cutting and pasting and rewriting some crap Mirror article.
    When they leave the Mail Online then have the audacity to ask for £1,500! If they treated their staff better, maybe people wouldn’t jump ship but their sheer arrogance at being just the Mail means they will never change and will continue to exploit people. But do they honestly think that with 10 of 16 graduates leaving in one year there isn’t a problem?! And what do they do if the already debt-laden graduates don’t cough up the £1,500?! Take them to court?!
    Regardless of its association with News Corp, fair play to The Tab for publishing this – hopefully it might stop the next graduate becoming a Mail statistic.

  2. The standards of subbing and reporting at the Mail have always been held in high regard by the rest of the profession and anyone who knows anything about newspapers would know that someone training at the Mail is unlikely to ever meet Toby Young let alone be taught by him. This is a site for journalists, are you lost?

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