The Annual Barents Press International Conference in April Haparanda appeared unforgettable. According to many in attendance it was one of the best. We are very grateful to the hosts – Barents Press Sweden! What do the young participants think back about? Here’re some viewpoints from different countries.
How can media not lose readers, listeners and viewers and not lose their social role in society? Is journalism to die or to become a new "business niche"? These issues were discussed by journalists from Norway, Finland, Sweden and Russia at the annual conference of the journalistic network Barents Press International in late April in the Swedish city of Haparanda.
The Program exceeded all expectations
- said the students from the Barents region after the study-visit in Denmark. 16 English speaking journalism students from Northwest Russia were invited by the Nordic Journalism Centre (NJC) Update to spend a study week in Århus, the second biggest city in Denmark.
Marta Zhegalina, Murmansk State Humanitarian University
-With the specialists of Higher School of Journalism in Århus we spoke about the today’s media challenges and new methods of work. Professor Lars Cable states, that the future of our profession is in implementing digital technology innovations, iPads and iPhons.
We have spent two days in the biggest paper of Denmark, Jyllands-Posten (JP) - the heart of a cartoons scandal in 2005. Certainly, we cant except the freedom of speech crisis. The JP staff confessed that they have lost the freedom of speech battle. Thought, the conflict took place in 2005; its consequences still exist today. Practically every day the paper suffers from the threat of attack or explosion. Journalists who weren’t involved in the scandal have to be afraid for their life, just as they are the staff members . That is why the news room of Jyllands-Posten is the main guarded media object. It was also interesting to communicate with people who were somehow involved in the scandal. So, besides the internet resources we got first hand information and visited the news room, where the conflict started.
Aleksandr Tsymbal, Murmansk State Humanitarian University
- Snow-covered yard. Wooden bench and table near the right border. Nearby gracefully ramifies a tree.
No, this is not a description from a catalogue of a real estate. This is one of the landscapes of a Danish Journalism School, which impressed five students from Murmansk, who set for the seminar in a fabulous Århus. In the hall of the school you can see a numerous number of the photo-reports of the students. Dozen of shots with accompanying texts are tenderly put up on the walls in order to strike and amaze and not to leave indifferent.
In one of the last days we started to work under the joint article devoted to politics and social life in Århus. It was the simplest task, which is done day after day on every journalist department in Russia. But the approach of Danish students was so active, that I immediately forgot about the real task, it seemed that we plunged into the atmosphere of a real big newspaper news room and tomorrow our material will be spread in thousands of copies.
My group analyzed a pre-election promise of one of the candidates to solve lunch problem in school. Most of Russian students would consider such a problem like an invented one and even they wouldn’t take it seriously. Friendly speaking, I was going to do the same. However, our Danish colleagues started to keep on discussing at once and I had nothing left but catch the flying sparkles.
Which aspect of a problem will be the dominant one? Who should we ask about the official statistics? Who will give useful comments? And what questions should we ask? What photos may be necessary?...
To say that I was surprised by their feedback means that I have dishonestly hidden all the truth. I was impressed by the enthusiasm of these people, who are one and a half years older then we, who prepared the material just for their website in a such fundamental way.
Margarita Bogdanova, Petrozavodsk State University
-It was interesting to watch and work together with the Danish young journalist. My partner was Charlotte, 29 years old. Surprisingly, it was easy to communicate with her. Also, our views coincide on how to write stuff and what people we need to talk with. The complexity of collaboration was that the right people did not know English. So I just attended the interviews, but the information was received from the retelling of Charlotte. In addition, we were unable to reach the right people. Because of this material had turned one-sided. But we had done everything we could.
We discussed many things about journalism while working. It turned out that the methods used for writing material were not so different. But there are differences in the cross-light. If Russian journalists are always looking for the problem, then the Danes are always trying to highlight the positive side of the issue.
And the educational system in Denmark is completely different. There are a lot of lectures at our university and very little practice. Lectures and practice alternate in the Danish School of Journalism. I think it's more efficient system. Because only experience will teach to write better articles or stories do, and not a theory.
The next day, all participants discussed the results of team-work. Danish students are also actively discussing the proposed problem. Among other things during free time, Russian and Danish discussed policy issues and the freedom of speech, and shared their experience and the situation of journalism in the country. In Denmark it is easier to the journalist to obtain the necessary information, as policies are more open and willing to cooperate. In addition, they have more independent newspapers, although because of the caricature scandal there is more self-censorship among journalists.
Translated by Irina Bykova
Danish course leader Anders Lange
Pictures: Viktor Khanevich, Kaliningrad