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In a time where freedom of information is on decline all around the world, the Nordic states remain on top of the list over countries with the highest level of press freedom.
Hundreds of Norwegians and Russians arrived in the first week of February in the town of Kirkenes on the Russian-Norway border to see the spectacular installations, to visit unusual exhibitions and to speculate about the future of the Arctic territories at the international art festival Barents Spektakel.
Youth Chat is not a place to keep silent at
Barents Press Annual Conference in Bodø agaim had Youth Chat as a parallel session on its program. Ekaterina Gabalova, student of Petrozavodsk University shares her impressions and ideas.
It's not for the first time that I participate in the Youth Chat of Barents Press. Last year in Murmansk I was lucky to learn that such a meeting was a wonderful possibility – for a student especially – to get new impressions and knowledge about the profession and not from a lecture or a seminar but from working journalists. And this work is very soon to become part of my life. And i'm not at all sorry about it.
How could one fell sorry if it's possible to become a colleague for people many of whom speak several foreign languages, defend professional honour in the most difficult situations and are glad to share thir immense experience. There were jokes about the average BP members age being 60 (of course it'snot true:)) and it's time to «get younger», but I don't think young participants felt out of place at the Coference. We ourselves sometimes lack founding energy of such «sixty-aged» and have to worry about our passivity and laziness.
But this time we seemed to be in line
Sari Pöyhönen and Dag Kristoffersen who led the discussion stearted from the items of what young journalists in Nordic countries need and what difficulties the face. Short job agreements in Finland, visas difficulties in Russia, shortage of active international collaboration at journalistic faculties in Norway. And, as usual, one of the main problems – lack of money. So there are few trips, seminars, exchange projects. And it's so important to meat, to learn from each other, watch the differences of traditional journalistic work in ways of presenting information and in the final media product in the end. It's difficult to argue the fact that freedom of ideas acquires much from freedom of travelling.
We also spoke about the fact that students are often not taken seriously. But where can one get experience if without experience he/she has no access to a job? The problem turned out to be international. Though at the Chat we were taken seriously and talked seriously.
Chat is talk. And of course the Youth Chat is not the place to keep silent. We speak a lot. Sometimes only speak. But it's good we notice it. Last time we shared ideas about journalism, Internet, new ties. Ad we were making plans that haven’t come to life. It just happens so that when you are back to you everyday routine you put aside and not fulfil your new plans. I remember feeling ashamed that after having offered something, “sworn fidelity” and felt it necessary to embody things I haven't even dropped a line for the site — new cares and matters took me away. But now we have together come to a conclusion that it is normal and it is not necessary to spend energy for self-blaming, and it is necessary just to work, to simply do what you cen and to be ready to help if it is required. Especially dialogues in social networks will help to adjust new and to maintain the appeared professional relations. And friendly ones, certainly.
The guess participants – two students from Canada – also shared their ideas. They admitted that envy journalists of Barents region who sometimes do not see the given possibilities. The topics are just everywhere around. The main thing is not to be isolated in yor own and even the country, but to bring publications to the international level. At least to the level of the Barents region. Quite a good idea, for example is to put materials on a definite topic made by journalists from different countries to one Web-site. Different and sometimes almost opposite points of view on events will give a fuller and objective picture. In my opinion it would be great. I think we will follow the advice
It was my second Chat. I was very glad to see familiar faces. It's a pity there were no friends from Archangelsk and Murmansk. I do hope Ejafjallajokull has thought over its behaviour , felt ashamed and will never do such things. Despite everything we gathered together in a reduced body and that means young journalists are eager to associate and work in Barents Press. They come with new ideas and projects? Plans and hopes. I expect to meet them all in Finland next spring! And meanwhile we'll do some local preparations. I intend to discuss with people in Petrozavodsk unuversity tpossibilities of collaboration with the University College in Bodø. Which I think can be useful for students of journalism.
And some complains to finish with ...
It's a pity the Chat session was parallel with the one for «adults». We missed a very interesting (as we heard later) report of Grigory Pasko, an independent journalist from Russia. And secondly, it would have been interesting to listen to skilled journalists who at the beginning had faced problems very similar to ours. As to doing things on our own we'll manage to cope with it. And in my opinion we do it: we almost unanimously supported the offer of creating the "young" Board of Barents Press International. Perhaps we are that «young riffraff» who will «move aside» the senior journalistic Barents-generation. :) And the matter is not just to replace. It would be desirable to truely establish ourselves in journalism. Not to be a stick to a microphone, not a person who asks questions from a piece of paper prepared in advance by press-services (it was unpleasant to hear about it from Alexey Shiryaev).
P.S. Thanks to the wonderful nature of Norway! It has totally compensated the troubles brought by its wicked colleague – the volcano.
Ekaterina Gabalova, student of Petrozavodsk University
Translated by Tatiana Polkova