Category Archives: Tips och inspiration

How to support students with multimedia storytelling? Try this map!

As a teacher, it feels sometimes difficult to make journalism students try to experiment with alternative ways of storytelling. No matter that you have carefully gone through multiple examples of what is possible online, and motivated students to break down their stories to videos, images, graphics and other visualizations. The result will be a long text,  possibly with one or two images. You find yourself asking if there are any better pedagogical choices to nourish fantasy.

The multimedia storytelling map by the Swiss School of Journalism, MAZ.

The Swiss School of Journalism – Die Schweizer Journalistenschule MAZ introduced a map for multimedia storytelling at an EJTA Conference in 2015. The map depicts different choices to consider for telling a story with the help of multimedia. The aim is to feed the journalist’s imagination by showing possibilities for presenting an idea online. The idea is that by asking questions about the material you may be able to match the content with a suitable form.

I have been using the map on different teaching occasions, and to ensure a more comfortable use in Finland, I recently translated it into Finnish. It is currently available in EnglishSwedish and German (as well as in Azerbaijani and Dutch). As the tool is a work in progress, the German version is already in its 5th edition. The map can be downloaded as a pdf, and thus, printed, which is still a valid option in the our classrooms, or used as an interactive html version.

The idea to reduce the complex decision-making process to a limited number of questions and answers may appear to many  too simplified. Some questions, such as whether the person’s appearance is important to telling the story or not, may even seem irrelevant in some contexts. To prevent misunderstandings and overinterpretations it is thus important that the map is introduced in the classroom by the teacher with a short debriefing about the objectives of the approach. At its best, the map functions as a tool that supports the student’s creative process, not as an instruction sheet with pre-made decisions that has to be followed by numbers.

With this little example I am inviting colleagues from the Nordic countries to present their best online teaching materials to their colleagues. You don’t have to wait for the next NordJour conference to share the greatest classroom discoveries!

Maarit Jaakkola

The author teaches and researches journalism in Finland and Sweden. She is happy to receive suggestions from teachers on texts presenting and discussing teaching materials and pedagogical ideas to be published in this blog at maarit.jaakkola@uta.fi.

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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Bild: Finland Bildbank

MOOC istället för en vanlig kurs?

För några år sedan var det mycket diskussion om MOOC-kurser, stora webbkurser som skulle locka tusentals deltagare med liten lärarinsats och ta vara på webbens möjligheter till öppen undervisning och flexibelt lärande. Hur är läget idag?

MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) definieras på svenska Wikipedia som en storskalig, öppen och nätbaserad kurs. En sådan webbkurs innehåller typiskt videolektioner, följda av uppgifter som ska genomföras i smågrupper och examineras med hjälp av automatiserade, självrättande test med flervalsfrågor.

De som klarar kursen får ett intyg. Många journalistlärare har sett MOOCs potential för studenter att utvidga och fördjupa kunskaper i områden som är centrala till specialisering och inte erbjuds på heminstitutioners kursutbud. Ämnen som har ofta bedömts vara passande till sådana här insatser är till exempel sociala medier, datajournalistik, webbjournalistik och digitalt berättande, gamification (”spelifiering”) samt medieekonomi och marknadsföring.

Det finns många ytterligare fördelar med ”moocar”: de organiseras fortlöpande och man behöver därför sällan vänta länge för att få påbörja en kurs. För lärare, som idag har ett konstant uppdateringsbehov av sina kunskaper, visar sig MOOC-kurser som en fortbildningsmöjlighet. Många av kurserna är dessutom helt gratis, även om en del också innehåller kursavgifter.

Det största problemet med MOOC-kurser är ändå valideringen av innehållet och lärandet. MOOC-kurser har även kritiserats hårt på grund av överoptimism gällande studenternas studiedisciplin, bristfällig handledning och avsaknad av social interaktion. Många känner sig ensamma och tappar lusten att studera vidare. Jag kan tänka mig att många universitet förhåller sig positivt till idén i teorin men kan i praktiken inte godkänna kurser; till exempel anger Lunds universitet på sin hemsida att MOOC-kurserna inte kan räknas in i examen eller ger högskolepoäng.

För mina studenter i journalistik ställde jag upp regler för deltagandet i en MOOC-kurs 2013. Idén var att studenter skulle kunna själva leta upp kurser som de är intresserade av, läraren skulle godkänna kursen i förväg och studenten skulle återkomma med ett intyg efter fullgjort kursen. Dessutom skulle studenter hålla en kursdagbok och skriva en kort slutrapport om det personliga inlärandet. Utgångspunkten var densamma som i den journalistiska praktiken att det inte är själva arbetet som genomförts utanför universitet som ger studiepoäng utan först reflektionen över det egna lärandet.

Det har inte varit många studenter som varit intresserade av denna möjlighet, men nu har idén fått vind i seglen igen och den kommande utbildningsplanen kommer sannolikt att underlätta utnyttjandet av sådana kurser.

Här är några plattformar som samlar MOOC-kurser från världens prestigeuniversitet med relevans till journalistiken:

Enligt en nyutkommen bok Massive Open Online Courses and Higher Education (red. av Rebecca Bennet och Mike Kent för Routledge) har hypen kring MOOC-kurserna mojnat något sedan den första MOOC-kursen startades på Manitobas universitet 2008 och The New York Times utsåg 2012 till moocens år. MOOC-kursernas för- och nackdelar finns dock alltjämt kvar.

Min dröm, som många journalistlärare i Norden säkert delar med mig, är att kunna anordna årliga MOOC-kurser till nordiska journaliststudenter med varierande teman, utifrån universitetens olika profiler och expertisområden. Kanske går det att börja med en pilotkurs först. Vem vill ställa upp?

Maarit Jaakkola arbetar som forskare i journalistik på Nordicom i Göteborg och lärare i journalistik vid Tammerfors universitet.

Läs vidare om MOOCs:

Fors, Gunilla (2014). MOOCs och OER – en kartläggning av aktörer och utbud. Malmö: Malmö stadsbibliotek.

Goral, Tim (2013). SPOCs may provide what MOOCs can’t. University Business June 27, 2013.

Follow the Nordic journalism research

Want to start following the Nordic journalism and journalism education research more systematically? Or narrow down the monitoring of international studies to those conducted in the Nordic countries? Here are some essentials to teachers and students.

What makes it often difficult to follow research related to journalism, journalism research and journalism education is the fact that the research is typically scattered around different disciplines such as sociology, political science, philosophy, educational sciences, cultural studies and, for example, economics and business studies.

In today’s global culture it may also be increasingly irrelevant to draw lines between ”Nordic” and ”non-Nordic”. In a world of complex relationships, ”Norden” is becoming more and more interlaced with other geographically and culturally defined areas, or less relevant in favour of a more ”international” scope of attention and interests. This does, however – and luckily – not undermine the distinct Nordic identity; it may just make it slightly more difficult to trace the work of the Nordic-based scholars.

As many of the academic journals nowadays follow an Open Access policy, original studies are easy to use on courses or for purposes of self-study. The communication about the Nordic-originated research has increased, enabled by a number of different platforms and organisations. In this post I want to collect some relevant sources for those who want to start keeping an eye on the Nordic media and communication research.

Academic journals

The most important sources for following recent research are, of course, the academic journals. They can be found in the national databases (The Danish National Research DatabaseJufo in Finland, DHB in Norway). A common Nordic database is currently under construction.

Besides the national journals typically given out by the researchers’ associations and the international journals open to scholars all around the globe, there are academic publications with a distinctively Nordic scope. Below is a list of the academic peer-reviewed journals published in English and/or Scandinavian languages, relevant to and influential within the field of media and communication research, and, more specifically, research on journalism and journalism education.

Media and communication studies, social sciences:

  • Journalistica is a peer-reviewed journal in journalism research, published in Scandinavian languages and English, funded by Danish journalism education institutions.
  • MedieKultur is a peer-reviewed journal of media and communication research, published in Scandinavian languages and English by SMiD, the Association of Media Researchers in Denmark.
  • Nordicom Review is a peer-reviewed journal published in English and given out by the Nordic Information Centre for Media and Communication Research Nordicom.
  • Nordisk kulturpolitisk tidskrift is a peer-reviewed journal on cultural policy published in Scandinavian languages and English, funded by Nordic research institutions.
  • Norsk medietidskrift is a peer-reviewed journal published mainly in Norwegian but also in other Scandinavian languages and English by NML, the Norwegian Association of Media Researchers .
  • Northern Lights: Film and Media Studies Yearbook is a peer-reviewed journal focused on research on film, television and new media, published in English.
  • WiderScreen is a peer-reviewed journal on multimedial, audiovisual and digital media culture, published in English and Finnish.

Journalism/media education and media literacy:

Cultural research

  • 16:9 is a Danish peer-reviewed journal focused on film studies, published in Danish and given out in Aarhus.
  • Culture Unbound: Journal of Current Cultural Research is a peer-reviewed journal in cultural studies, published in English by three research units at the Linköping University.
  • Nordic Journal of Aesthetics is a peer-reviewed journal focused on research within arts and aesthetics with a Nordic scope, published in English.
  • Sensorium Journal is a peer-reviewed journal for interdisciplinary questions on aesthetics, technology and materiality, organized around the Sensorium Network at the Linköping University.
  • Nordic Journal of Literacy Research is a peer-reviewed journal for culturally oriented literacy research, which includes the research on reading, writing and literacy practices and education, published in Scandinavian languages and English.

Research on technology and innovations:

Gender studies:

Organisations, networks and platforms

Besides the established large Nordic organizations for cooperation, such as the Nordic Council of Ministers and its infrastructure for the funding, administration and development of research (e.g. NordForsk), there are a number of research-related platforms and networks.

Selected individual bloggers

Nowadays, the numerous platforms of social media may provide us with a direct contact to an individual media or communication scholar. The use of social media for scholarly purposes has become more popular in the Academy; however, it is still not very easy to find, for example, bloggers specialized in media and/or communication research. Maybe it is just that the cobbler’s children are the worst shod, as the old saying goes?

Here are some examples to begin with:

  • From Denmark: Active bloggers include, for example, the journalism researcher Aske Kammer at the University of Copenhagen, Associate Professor Torill Elvira Mortensen at the IT University of Copenhagen, and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, Director of Research at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford, the UK.
  • From Norway: Associate Professor in Digital Culture Hilde G. Corneliussen at the University of Bergen, Associate Professor Bente Kalsnes at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, and Professor in Digital Culture Jill Walker Rettberg at the University of Bergen.
  • From Finland: Almost all the Finnish media scholars blog in Finnish, such as the co-blogging media professors Janne Seppänen from the University of Tampere and Esa Väliverronen from the University of Helsinki, as well as, for example, the political historian Mari K. Niemi who blogs for the magazine Suomen Kuvalehti.
  • From Sweden: Most of the blogging journalism and media researchers are gathered to the blog portal Medieforskarna which hosts 17 blogs altogether. In addition, Professor of Political Science Henrik Ekengren Oscarsson blogs on electoral studies, and researchers in political science have a blog community of their own, Politologerna.

In addition, you should not forget the active tweeters in the Nordic countries. On Twitter you can find research-related topics, among other things, with the hashtags #medieforskning, #jagforskar,  #journalistik, #Nordpub#NordicomOA, and the varying conference hashtags (e.g. #NordMedia2017, #NordMedia2015, #Nordmedia2013 etc.).

Do you miss something essential on the list? Please do not hesitate to mail your suggestions to the author.

Maarit Jaakkola

Maarit Jaakkola works as a postdoctoral researcher at Nordicom at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and as a lecturer in journalism at the University of Tampere, Finland. You can reach her at maarit.jaakkola@nordicom.gu.se.