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Journalism studies in Denmark: At the SDU there are 1000 exciting paths

When I received my acceptance letter to study journalism I thought I had chosen my direction in life. A year has now passed, and I have learned that I did not settle on a specific path at all. This education opens so many doors, and the university gives me the opportunity to discover what is behind these doors. I am now a good kind of confused.

”Hi, my name is Karoline Dam. I am a journalism student from the University of Southern Denmark. Do you have a moment?”

I have lost count on how many times I have said this the last year, but I will probably never get tired of that phrase anyway: All these people I get to speak to. The stories that they share with me, and I am allowed to tell others. It makes me feel really privileged.

Out in the field for Newsweek. Photo: Signe Julie Andersen.

The journalism education at the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) has given me the opportunity to tell so many stories: I have recently discussed the guerilla movement FARC with a former Colombian officer, questioned the function of a prayer room with Hetem, who is a Muslim, and met Mads who lives in polyamory, and tore down some of my prejudices. I am positive that it is these kinds of people I will continue to search for, but if their stories will be told with the help of a pen, a video camera or a dictaphone, only time will show.

Doubts in my journalistic brain

Our education covers all aspects of a possible journalistic career. Writing, radio, TV, or digital storytelling? I get to try it all.

And that has left me with a doubt. But a great kind of doubt.

Half a year for each of the above-mentioned areas does not leave me a specialist, but definitely a multi-skiller. In today’s journalistic practice where the internet is a thing and news happen every second, I am sure that making journalistic newcomers to multi-skillers is the right way to teach.

A journalistic nerd

I have learned to write a captive subhead, to create a picture universe for radio, and now I am just learning to edit a TV interview. But I am not only learning to “do” journalism, I am also learning how journalism historically has affected the world, how politics have an impact on journalists vis-à-vis, and how research and statistics will help me create a thorough and well-argued article.

Academic subjects such as media law, international politics, and media language cover 38 per cent of the education, as depicted in the figure below. My first thought when I realized this was: Why? I just want to be a journalist.

The structure of the journalism studies at the SDU. Please click to see a larger image.

However, I have quickly realized that these subjects are what builds the foundation to become a knowledgeable and good journalist.

A kind push

The world of journalists is a battlefield. My fellow students and I know that we must have sharp elbows and do something extra besides the education.

Luckily, the university got our back there. Do you want to be a newspaper editor? Join Lixen. Or are you more interested in getting better with picture and sound? Well, Beton TV and Odense Studenterradio give you the chance.

Reporting news in the morning radio. Photo: Christina Yoon Petersen.

A little piece of advice? Do take these chances. Learn what excites you and what you are good at because two years during the education you must benefit from this knowledge, when you have to find an internship. One year of the studies is reserved for you to show your talent to a company and for the company to learn you how to work in the “real” world. I was just about to tell you that this is the first taste of the journalism industry outside the university, but that is simply not true.

I dare to say that the education at the SDU is, if not the one, then one of the educations that couple learning with real life throughout. We speak to experts, politicians, and to other interesting citizens weekly. We visit radio and TV stations, and we even work for a local newspaper for a whole week.

I have often heard that university students almost feel detached from the outside during their education. I certainly do not have this problem.

Tiny setup – huge competition

A part of the detachment from the outside is the lack of socializing. Luckily, we do not miss out on that at all. We consider ourselves a rather small education, we are no more than 200 students divided into two semesters walking around the journalists’ area, Medietorvet, at the same time. Most of them, including myself, moved to Odense from a long distance after getting in. That forces people to make new friendships, and so we did! Some of my fellow students have become people I do not know how to live without, and I thank the university, that I was “forced” to get to know these people.

Editing the newest TV-assignment. Photo: Karoline Hedegaard.

They are not only friends, they are also competitors. In a profession that is difficult to get noticed in, they urge me to become better at what I am already good at, because ‘good does just not cut it – we have to be great. And with the above-mentioned possibilities, I dare to say that SDU helps us more than we could wish. The rest is up to us. I am so excited to discover what the next year of school has in store for me before I (hopefully) find an internship.

Karoline Lunddal Dam

Me interviewing the Danish musician Hjalmer last month. Photo: Tine Dam Rasmussen

The author strives to become a journalist and began her path at the Danish Folk Highschool Krogerup, focusing on Journalism and Media. Afterwards, she stayed three months in the US studying News reporting and Writing at Bucks County Community College. Now she is studying Journalism at the University of Southern Denmark while working as a web assistant at the Danish television station TV 2.

 

Want to work abroad? Don’t forget your Nordic neighbours!

Working abroad and getting international working experience – hands up who hasn’t dreamed about it and decided to make the dream come true one day? But who of you have thought the neighbouring Nordic countries as an option? No, we choose London and Japan – and so did I, before finding my way to Sweden.

Today the world is small and there are as many ways to work abroad as there are dreamers. My own experience is not a coherent or systematic one, but life rarely is.

Needless to say, being a freelancer journalist (or almost any other freelancer) is challenging and often requires existing contacts, skills and good luck. Many journalists prefer to work as an independent writer, but I like working for, and with, someone. However, I hadn’t been able to live abroad and to be an employee at the same time.

During my early years of university studies as I was living in Finland I, for some reason, never realised to stop and think the international working options in neighbour countries. I did know that in Stockholm, for example, there were a few different media where one could use, and improve, Swedish and Finnish language as well as journalism sklls. Maybe I thought that my poor(ish) school Swedish would be too poor to be able to work in Sweden… So I chose Asia – well, that makes lots of sense, doesn’t it?

After graduating I lived in London and started a modest career as a freelancer journalist, but it didn’t take a long time to realise that better working conditions would wait for me in Finland. In my homeland I gained more experience as a journalist, and later could become a freelancer journalist again, this time in Japan and South Korea. There my experience and results were slightly better than as a novice a few years earlier.

As a summer journalist in Sweden

Anyway, apparently it took me some years and a decision to start a new international masters program in Denmark to come across a summertime journalist vacancy at Sveriges Radio’s Finnish channel Sisuradio. As I hadn’t any plans for the following summer, I thought I can always try. Therefore I took a train from Copenhagen to Stockholm and went to see Finnish radio professionals. And got excited right away. Fortunately, also the job interviewers were – well if not excited – at least happy to hire me.

And when the summer came, my excitement just kept rising in a new but cosy channel with encouraging and supportive colleagues. When I confessed to a Swedish-Finnish colleague that I had to use a dictionary often because Swedish is sometimes difficult for me, he said he uses the dictionary every day – because Finnish is sometimes difficult for him.

I think one of the best things about being a journalist is that I learn every day something new about the world and its people. This summer, I didn’t learn only about the world and Sweden, I also learned Swedish language and culture. At the moment, I am continuing my studies in Copenhagen but will work part-time in Sisuradio’s Malmö office.

After the summer, my heart still beats when I’m going to do an interview in Swedish. But it doesn’t beat as fast as three months ago. The interviews don’t always go like “on Strömsö”, like they say in Finnish, but at least I can smile like a Swedish. I know I will succeed and I will fail many times. For those reasons, among others, I want to encourage young (and old) journalists and journalism students to take a train or a ferry to a neighbour country. It is an international experience, which again can bring along many new ones.

Karoliina Kantola

The author is studying MSc degree in Global studies and International development at Roskilde University, Denmark. Previously, she has taken BA in Comparative literature and MSc in Journalism at the University of Tampere, Finland. During the summer, she worked as a radio news journalist in Stockholm at the Sveriges Radios Finnish-speaking channel Sisuradio focusing on the affairs related to the Finnish living in Sweden.

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Journalism studies in Iceland: ”I’ve got to know my country and society better”

Erna Agnes Sigurgeirsdóttir is a journalism student at the University of Iceland.

I’m very glad that I chose the Master’s Program in Journalism at the University of Iceland. After my first year of studies, my journalistic appetite has only grown and I have learned a lot about my country and myself.

I had just finished my BA in Art Theory and had been working at a kindergarten. I thought about choosing educational studies for my Master’s and I had already written my application letter. A year before that I had heard about this journalism program in the University of Iceland. I thought it was very interesting but I wasn’t ‘t sure if I was up for the journalism environment. So after some thought, I finally decided to apply for the Master in Journalism – and got accepted.

Although I loved working with children and I thought the educational studies program sounded very good, I didn’t ‘t have the same flutter in my stomach as when I thought about the journalism program.

Different in a good way

I knew from the start that I was most interested in human interest stuff and cultural angles. My dream was, and still is, to work in radio and make different kinds of segments. And for that, choosing Master’s in Journalism was probably one of the best decision I have ever made.

As soon as I started I realized what good a decision I had made, and I loved it from the start. It was very different from what I had been used to when I studied Art Theory, and it was different in a good way. The courses I took were very hands-on. I learned how to write for different kinds of news media and I also learned how to handle all of the technical equipment that is essential in the media environment.

Looking back to my first year

I have now finished my first year and have one year left. During this year I have boosted my self-esteem for I have seen that I can actually do the work, yet it is not easy and I have a lot to learn. Our teachers encourage us students to find their voice. They have helped me find my way, and they make sure that I also step out of my comfort zone. That is one of the best ways to learn.

At Háskólatorg where people usually meet up before class. It also has the best coffee on campus.

I have also got to know my country and society better. I have always been interested in social matters but in this program I have been able to dig deeper. I have learned how to find news and what matters.

The internship and the reality

One of my favorite part of my first academic year was the final month. That month I, and my fellow students, had the opportunity to work as an intern in a media company of the preference of our own.

The internship period was, for me at least, the most important course I had taken during the first year. There I really learned how the real media environment works. I learned so much during this month, and I loved every, and sometimes difficult, minute of it. I was also able to grow my social network, which, of course, is extremely important to a journalist.

I got to work in the news department at Ríkisútvarpið, the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service. First, I worked at the news department for two weeks and thereafter for another two weeks at Rás 2, which is a radio station specialized in current events. I did segments for the morning and afternoon radio. That was absolutely my favorite part of the internship.

During my first year I have learned a lot – not just about myself but also about how the media work, and about its power and influence on the social environment and political structures. I look forward to the next year, because I know I still have so a lot more to learn.

Erna Agnes Sigurgeirsdóttir

The writer studies journalism at the University of Iceland. It is a two year program that is both practical and theoretical. The number of new students per year is around 21. Erna Agnes’ post starts a series of blog posts with the title Min utbildning, presenting study programmes at journalism schools in the Nordic countries.

Complete your university studies like no one else

How is it possible to graduate from a Master’s program in three years with 44 extra credits, while holding three jobs? And do this in a country where only a fifth of all university students reach the target time of five years? I will tell you.

Instagram @hannatuulonen, September 1st 2014: This is a new day and my first day at the uni, and I’m already thinking about my Bachelor’s thesis. #twoyearbachelor #icandothis

Almost three years has passed since I posted the picture above on Instagram. It was my first day at the University of Tampere, the day I started my journalism and communication studies in Finland. Already back then I knew I wanted to do something that I had heard only rumors of. I wanted to finish my university studies under the target time of five years.

Understandably, my goal was difficult to achieve and I faced a lot of questioning, especially since I had three jobs at the same time. My study advisors, teachers and fellow students were not used to someone like me. In Finland, students usually don’t graduate in the target time, not to speak about being quicker.

But that is exactly what I did.

Instagram @hannatuulonen, May 28th 2016: Two years ago, when I started my uni studies, I decided I’m gonna make it in two years. And so I did. Now it’s time for me to move on. With me I’m taking a Bachelor’s certificate. #twoyearbachelor #ididit

Instagram @hannatuulonen, August 29th 2016:  In autumn 2014 I posted a declaration that I was going finish my Bachelor’s degree within two years. Today, two years later, I’m at the doorstep of a new pursuit: Master’s degree in one year. #twoyearbachelor #oneyearmaster #thisisgu

Pulling of something like this is not an easy task. However, I had some benefits that made things easier.

One was the fact that I had completed all the basic courses at the open university before starting my actual university studies. At the time I didn’t realize how much of an advantage it was for me, yet during the first year I quickly realized its value as I was able to participate in second-year courses.

Another benefit was the Tampere university’s preeminent system of free minor studies. Basically, I could enroll myself on any course from any faculty and make it a part of my Bachelor’s studies. Thanks to this, I completed 224 study credits (ECTS) within two years instead of the 180 credits required within three years.

Thirdly, having a possibility to complete a Master’s thesis in Sweden in one year was an opportunity like any other.

Having these possibilities and benefits were only a small part of the whole picture, though. To be able to to do what I did a lot of work and planning is required. Here are some of my tips and tricks, something that took me several years of modifying. It required self-discipline as well as knowing my own strengths and weaknesses. Being organized is going to require the same things from you.

Besides studies, these rules can also be applied to a freelancer’s job.

Notebooks

I carry notebooks with me wherever I go. All four of them.

To me, notebooks are like folders: one notebook for one category of thoughts, or, in the case of university studies, one notebook per  course. As an average university student has four courses per period, I had eight to ten. Keeping track of all their deadlines and lectures in an organized way was a key to starting and completing all of them.

The important thing is not to have a notebook or several. The important thing is the purpose they serve: clearing the cache inside your head.

The human brain is amazing in how many things it can handle at the same time but what it is less good at is holding on to all those threads of thoughts. Trying to remember everything eats up a huge part of your energy and efficiency. Stressing about that you forgot something does the same thing. Getting ideas, thoughts, feelings and unfinished processes safely stored helps you keep focus on what you want.

Synchronized calendars

At the moment, my online calendar consists of six synchronized, color-coded calendars. Having different timetables synced helps me and others keep track of when and where we need to be or what needs to done by what deadline.

The calendars consist of two different kind of markings: time-bound events (e.g. meet an interviewee at 3pm) and day-bound events (e.g. buy flight tickets to Helsinki). Time-bound events are what dictate the daily schedules and day-bound events are the to-do list.

To-do lists are handy, but only if you make them right. Instead of having everything as one long overwhelming list of tasks, divide your tasks evenly throughout the week. Set a deadline and stick to it. A daily to-do list will help you prioritize and keep your mind on what’s important. Especially essay and exam deadlines.

Spreadsheets

One tool that planner freaks like me use is the spreadsheet. Especially long-term projects and courses that last for more than one period, it might be difficult to keep track of everything only with the help of a calendar. And this is where spreadsheets step in.

The picture below shows a spreadsheet in which I kept track of my courses and credits. Everything needed can be seen on one climbs. This would be impossible to comprehend and update only with the help of a calendar.

Take to notion that having a properly functioning spreadsheet needs constant updating. It might feel like a boring thing to do and you might think that you can do it later. Don’t. You’ll lose track of what you have already updated and checking up on things two months old eats up more of your time than giving two minutes a day to one simple update.

Common to all tools

Never delete or destroy anything. These tools are not meant only for keeping you on track right here and right now. They are also tools for you to check on what you have done and tools to help you get back to what you need to remember.

Sometimes getting started is the most difficult part. Instead of pondering whether you should do something or what you should do, just do it. It takes less time than wondering around. Trust me. And once you get to doing, keep going. No task, thought or event is too small to for these tools and rules. Write everything you need either in your notebooks (or what ever suits you best), calendar or spreadsheet.

Instagram @hannatuulonen, June 3rd 2017: ¡¡ Masters of Investigative Journalism !! Graduation day. You haven’t heard the last of us and we haven’t heard the last of each other. #perceftion #twoyearbachelor #oneyearmaster

A journalist’s job is not only a job. It’s a profession that doesn’t count hours. A freelance journalist cannot expect workdays to be 8 hours long because sometimes even 12 hours aren’t enough. I feel the same about studying. Now I realize that not everyone is like me. Not everyone has the same desire and passion for studying that I do, and thus these tools and rules don’t work for everyone. That’s okay. I don’t expect the same things from others that I expect from myself.

Yet I feel that it is important for me to show that university studies don’t have to be dragged out necessities that throughout the years evolve from something manageable to something tedious. When only 10 to 20 percent of all university students in Finland are able to grduate in the target time of five years, I can’t help but think that there’s a problem – in the university system, society or the students themselves. Which one are you going to change?

Hanna Tuulonen

The writer started her university studies in 2014, graduated as Bachelor of Social Science in 2016 from the University of Tampere in Finland and as Master of Social Science in 2017 from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. Currently she works as an editor-in-chief and as a translator. Find her portfolio and work samples at Göteborgin Sivukonttori and at Varusmies-lehti.

NPA hjälper unga journalister att nätverka i Norden

“Jag är en bättre journalist nu.”

Så här beskrev en av deltagarna sina känslor efter Nordic Press Associations (NPA) seminar i Oslo i slutet av april. Och det var just det vi som grundade NPA hade hoppats på: att hjälpa unga nordiska journalister att nätverka och bli bättre journalister.

NPA grundades i början av 2016 för att vi, en grupp unga journalister från Finland, Sverige, Danmark och Norge, kände att det inte finns tillräckliga möjligheter för unga nordiska journalister att mötas och samarbeta.

I en workshop lärde vi oss hur man kan utnyttja olika online sökning verktyg. Bild: Oona Lohilahti/NPA

Våra länder är så lika men ändå vet vi så lite om varandra. Vi alla håller en topplats i pressfrihetsindexet men varje land har sin egen kamp med till exempel fake news media eller frågan om hur etermedia ska finansieras.

En av de bästa sakerna man kan lära sig av NPA och våra seminarier är att det också finns ganska stora och nästan roliga skillnader mellan de Nordiska länderna. Skillnaderna handlar till exempel om arbetskultur, journalistutbildning och satsningar på regionala medier.

Det viktigaste är att hjälpa unga journalister att göra sin röster hörda

Med NPA vill vi komplettera journalistutbildningarna som inte alltid erbjuder möjligheter  att nätverka utomlands och lära sig samarbeta med andra unga journalister från de Nordiska länderna.  

“Jag har lärt mig mer av dessa seminariedagar än  vid universitetet”, sade en deltagare i Oslo.

Men det viktigaste är att hjälpa unga journalister att göra sin röster hörda. Vi vet att det kan vara en kamp att få sin första artikel publicerad och i NPAs seminarier  får deltagarna  stöd av redaktörer och andra gruppmedlemmar.

Journalister i alla nordiska länder kommer från liknande bakgrunder. I NPAs seminarier erbjuder vi också unga journalister, som inte har studerat journalistik eller pratar nordiska språk som modersmål, en möjlighet att få göra sin röst hörd, kanske för första gången. NPA har ännu inga egna kanaler för att publicera historier men vi försöker sporra och hjälpa deltagare att sälja sina historier.

Unga journalister jobbade i grupper och lärde sig samarbeta med människor från andra länder. Bild: Oona Lohilahti/NPA

Grupparbete och workshopar

När NPA anordnade seminariedagar i Köpenhamn förra året var syftet att prova nya sätt att göra journalistik på och därmed öka representationen av unga i i media. Deltagarna producerade om olika teman: en grupp intervjuade unga som tillhör olika sexuella minoriteter, en grupp frågade köpenhamnsborna om veganism och en tredje grupp gjorde en Facebook-video om hur nedskärningar av studiebidragen påverkar studenters psykiska hälsa.

I Oslo producerade deltagarna journalistiska artiklar, videos och podcasts om yttrandefrihet och mänskliga rättigheter.  En grupp gjorde en 360 video av en romsk mans vardag och en annan grupp producerade en podcast om övervakningen i nordiska länder. En grupp som bestod av skrivande journalister bestämde sig för att lära sig nya teknikeroch gjorde en kort video också om övervakningen. Grupparbetet  varvades med föreläsningar och workshops, olika lekar och gemensamma middagar.

Mellan arbetande fanns också tid för skoj. Här förbereder sig en grupp att sjunga Abba. Bild: Oona Lohilahti/NPA

Det finns ett behov av samarbete

Efter två seminarier kan man verkligen säga att det finns ett behov av samarbete mellan unga nordiska journalister. Det är synd att vi vet så lite om varandra och hur lite våra medier skriver om andra nordiska länder. Alla vet om norska TV-serien Skam, men vem kan nämna Norges statsminister? Det har varit underbart att se hur ivrigt deltagare pratar om sina länder och jämför dess politiska system.

Vi har blivit överraskade av hur ambitiösa unga journalister är och hur mycket de uppskattar möjligheten att samarbeta. NPA har redan hjälpt unga nordiska journalister att skaffa nya kontakter och förstå andra nordiska länder. Vi hoppas att NPA kan bidra till bättre nordisk journalistik.

Anna Takala och Oona Lohilahti

Anna Takala och Oona Lohilahti är båda aktiva i Nordic Press Association (NPA) och varit med i att anordna seminariedagar i Köpenhamn och Oslo. Lohilahti studerar journalistik vid Tammerfors universitet och Takala kommunikation vid Helsingfors universitet i Finland.

Jonathan, Flickr.com CC-BY-NC-SA

Utbytesstudier i Foreign Reporting i Helsingfors

Svenska social- och kommunalhögskolan vid Helsingfors universitet erbjuder en kursmodul på temat Foreign Reporting för utbytesstuderande hösten 2017.

Modulen är till för studerande med inriktning på journalistik eller kommunikation, och passar fint för den som är intresserad av internationella frågor, mångfald, och de möjligheter och utmaningar som journalistiskt arbete utanför det egna landets gränser medför. Den är öppen för studerande från hela världen, och går på engelska.

I modulen ingår både praktiska och mer teoretiska kursbitar, samt en reportageresa till Baltikum. Modulen består av tre huvudkurser på totalt 15 sp (Foreign Reporting in Practice; Media Landscapes and Journalism in Transition; Ethnicity and the Challenge of Diversity in Journalism and Media), och i tillägg kan den som vill ta kurser om bl.a. kris- och datajournalistik upp till totalt 30 sp.

Som föreläsare i kurserna ingår både erfarna utrikeskorrespondenter och forskare inom journalistik. Föreläsningar varvas med individuell handledning av övningsarbeten.

En mera detaljerad kursbeskrivning finns här: https://tinyurl.com/sskhforrep. Studerande kan ansöka om finansiering för sin utbytesperiod från Nordplus studentmobilitetsfinansiering.

Kurshelheten är ett ypperligt tillfälle att skapa nya erfarenheter tillsammans med studerande från hela världen i vackra Helsingfors. Utbildningen på Svenska social- och kommunalhögskolan (Soc & Kom) är den enda svenskspråkiga för journalister i Finland. Den forskning som görs på enheten handlar bland annat om datajournalistik (computational journalism) och genusfrågor inom journalistik.

Klas Backholm

Klas Backholm arbetar som biträdande professor på journalistutbildningen vid Social- och kommunalhögskolan (Soc & Kom) vid Helsingfors universitet.

I found the passion for my work in DMJX

When I think back to the semester I spent as an exchange student in Denmark, I now realize how much it changed me and my career. Stepping out of my everyday life in Finland helped me find my passion as a photojournalist.

In autumn 2015 I spent four months in Aarhus Denmark studying photojournalism in Danish School of Media and Journalism (DMJX). In November 2016 I was awarded in prestigious CPOY for several of my short documentaries – and I have DMJX to thank for that.

I was encouraged to find my own style

I had studied photojournalism in the University of Tampere for four years and had worked as a visual journalist in newspapers for couple of years before I left for Denmark. Despite the years of studies and work I still felt I hadn’t found the right path for me yet. I was constantly questioning my skills and passion for my work.

Moving to a new country and getting to know new people provoked new ideas of what I could do with my career. In DMJX I was surrounded by great teachers and skillful colleagues from around the world – and just getting to know them, I was introduced to so many different ways of being a visual journalist.

One crucial thing in finding one’s love for their work is getting the support they need from people around them.

In DMJX the teachers emphasized that they wanted us to find our own style as photojournalists: whether it was fast-paced news photography or long term personal projects, film or digital photography, still images or video.

This was the key for me to realize that no matter what my style was, the most important thing was that I would do my work with passion. No journalism is ever good if it’s not done with great care and inspiration for the subject.

Me and my classmates on our graduation day in DMJX.

Me and my classmates on our graduation day in DMJX.

Workshops with international professionals

In DMJX I began to look back at my work experience in newspapers and I realized that daily news work really wasn’t what I wanted to do as a journalist. Then I started to ask myself: Was it worth doing work that I didn’t feel passionate about? What would I do If I listened to my heart?

In DMJX the photojournalism studies consist of several workshops with different areas of photojournalism. The teaching is in English so there’s no language barrier to keep you from learning everything you want.

For me the crucial workshop in finding the passion for my work was the video workshop with Bombay Flying Club. During the workshop we produced web documentaries about the refugee crisis in Denmark. I spent over a week living in the house of a Syrian-Iraqi refugee family documenting their life and struggle with the Danish immigration policies.

Being able to spend all that time with my subject and really getting to know their story was something I had never experienced working as a news photographer. During that week I felt such a love for my work that I had never felt before.

I felt like I was doing something meaningful and I was good at it.

 

I documented the life of Abdulhamid family in Denmark. The picture is from the short documentary 'Everything For Family' which tells how the family is torn apart by Danish immigration policies.

I documented the life of Abdulhamid family in Denmark. The picture is from the short documentary ‘Everything For Family’ which tells how the family is torn apart by Danish immigration policies.

Following your passion pays off

After I returned to Finland one year ago I continued to follow my passion: I started producing short documentaries for Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE. During this year three of my documentaries have been broadcasted.

A couple of weeks ago I also received amazing news: three of my short documentaries were granted with an award in College Photographer of the Year (CPOY) -competition. The awards gave me confidence that I’ve taken steps on the right path when following my passion for documentary filmmaking.

Of course I still feel insecure at times and have doubts about my work. However, the past year I’ve felt more confident and happy with my work than ever before. In DMJX I learned that if I continue to follow my heart, it eventually takes me a lot further than any rationally made career plans.

Otto, 67, sits in his kitchen at Hipposkylä, Finland. Otto is one of the main characters in the documentary 'Alone together' which won the Award of Excellence in CPOY 2016.

Otto, 67, sits in his kitchen at Hipposkylä, Finland. Otto is one of the main characters in the documentary ‘Alone together’ which won the Award of Excellence in CPOY 2016.

Riina Rinne

The author studied in DMJX ’s half-year-long Photo I -program in 2015, funded by the Nordplus program. Now she is finishing her Master’s studies in visual journalism at the University of Tampere in Finland. You can find Riina Rinne’s work on her website and in YLE Areena.