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Honorary doctor Ulrika Knutson warns: academic crisis ahead

Journalist and writer Ulrika Knutson has just been conferred honorary doctor at the Faculty of Arts and is proud of that title. But she warns that the universities in the future will be struck by the same crisis that the media is going through today.

Thulrika knutsone Faculty of Arts’ new honorary doctor Ulrika Knutson has worked for many years as a cultural journalist in radio, TV and magazines, like Filmkrönikan and as a cultural editor at Månadsjournalen. 2004 she was appointed visiting professor in journalism at the University of Gothenburg.

Freedom of speech in conflict

In recent years Ulrika Knutson has started to write more about political and societal topics, amongst others as a writer in Fokus magazine. She preferably writes about freedom of speech, when freedom of speech gets in conflict with other interests.

– In freedom of speech matters, journalists, researchers and opinion-makers are taken by surprise and not ready to handle the problems. We are in favour of freedom of speech, but we see these hate storms in social media that make conversation impossible and that expose private persons. And this not only hits high profiled feminists, but also anonymous schoolgirls. The human and cultural losses are very large, but still we have a freedom of speech. How are we going to tackle this?

The arts subjects depends on traditional journalism

Ulrika Knutson thinks that the crisis that has hit the media business in recent years is only the beginning of a drastic cutback in journalism, which can lead to other consequences.

– Journalism will lose its established position and status. Which is also what will happen to the academia. Sometimes I think the academia should be more aware of that the changes in media and the disarmament of the journalistic intellectual arenas, are just frontrunners to what could happen to the universities in the future, such as the arts and the social sciences. Who wants to pay for a bunch of people that just sit and talk?

Ulrika Knutson says that the arts has up until now had a lot of help from journalism to explain its right to exist, the arts has actually been dependent on traditional media’s arts sections. When that platform now withers, the academia will be affected.

– The Arts has to explain why they are absolutely necessary, both to the public and to the politicians.