Tag Archives: Min utbildning

Journalism studies in Norway: The trust in journalists is all-time low, and I hope I can turn that around

I’ve never regretted the decision to study journalism, but my future in the media is far from decided. Luckily, the studies in journalism at NLA Mediehøgskolen Gimlekollen in Kristiansand, Southern Norway, have prepared me for a number of future challenges. 

My last year of high school was coming to an end, and I had no idea what I wanted to do. None at all. But I was confident I wanted to keep studying instead of taking a year off, which more and more high school graduates decide to do these days.

However, I always found my dad’s job interesting. He’s been a journalist his entire life, and today he is the editor-in-chief of the Norwegian newspaper Dagen. At times it could seem a bit stressful though. Work calls would come even in weekends, often when you the least expected them, and away he went blabbering about front page headlines and sentence structures.

But studying journalism was something I began to consider more and more. I’ve always had a big interest in news and media, and as a child I often watched the evening news together with my parents. We are a family who likes to voice our opinions, and family dinners often became the stage of discussions and debates.

After discussing with my dad, I decided to join him on a visit to NLA Mediehøgskolen Gimlekollen, one of Norway’s most reputable journalism schools. There I made my decision: this was the place I would spend my next three years.

A very positive surprise

After the first few weeks as a new student at Gimlekollen, I quickly noticed how great the student environment is here.

It’s a relatively small school, and my class consisted of about 40 students, which makes  a group of people where you can get to know everyone a little bit. Another benefit is that the lectures at such a school are very personal and informal, and interrupting the lecturer to ask questions is actually encouraged. The teachers at the school are great, as well, and they all have experience from different subfields in the world of media.

The highlights of the studies so far include the internship periods, where we take on the roles of different editorial staff and produce content for the school’s own media platforms. Gimlekollen is a very practice-oriented school, where large parts of the study involve working as a journalist.

In most of the courses you are graded by the quality of your work, in addition to a report where you explain the thought process behind your work. The experience you acquire throughout the entire course is invaluable, and it really prepares you for a media reality which is varied and rapidly changing. We’ve also had authentic real-world practice, where I spent two months as an intern at Norway’s largest tech website Tek.no. I was given trust and responsibility from day one, and it was easily the most fun I’ve had during my years as a student.

Challenging but rewarding

Of course, the theoretical subjects are just as important. At first I was a bit surprised about how much attention these subjects were given to. Nevertheless, learning about ethics, politics, social studies, economics, history, and how these relate to the media has been really rewarding. Even better, practical work is still a part of these subjects, as well, where we would visit city council meetings, court trials and other excursions. Talented guest lecturers are also part of almost every topic, and you end up hearing interesting stories and learning a lot.

Gimlekollen is also the only Nordic school which offers worldview journalism as a mandatory subject, which is something that sets it apart from other schools. Excursions to the local church and mosque gave us students the opportunity to ask questions and learn a lot about these communities, and it was very insightful.

A new reality for journalists

I still have a year left here, and I really appreciate all the knowledge and experience I’ve gained. As a freelancer for the local newspaper, I’ve covered all types of journalism: from local sports and cultural events to deep political and religious matters. Finishing and publishing a journalistic piece you are satisfied with is a great feeling. It is also a real privilege being able to tell important stories, and actually have the chance to make a change with your work.

All is not good with today’s press though. As a newly educated journalist in today’s media situation, you have to be prepared for new challenges every day. Even though I have a huge interest for media, I often find myself getting annoyed over today’s press. The public debate between politicians and other voices in society is often ridden with personal remarks and insults, and the tabloid media love the opportunity to make a negative article or clickbaity headlines.

Today’s press’ tendency to stir up negativity and conflict is something I really dislike, and is honestly something that demotivates me a bit from becoming a journalist. The public’s trust in journalists is at an all-time low, and I don’t blame them. I do hope I can contribute to turn that image around.

Michael Selbekk

The author is a 21-year-old journalism student at NLA Mediehøgskolen Gimlekollen.

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.

 

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.