Without information there can be no understanding
Growing up in a family where human rights echoed in the household, and starting to take photographs midway in the teenage, it was almost natural for Hanna Tuulonen to choose journalism and communications industry. She chose them not only for a livelihood but also to make an impact in a practical manner.
Moreover, if there is one thing she hates, it is hypocrisy: all that talk of this and that but not doing. In order to prove to herself that she has the conscientiousness for gender equality, she decided to do the military service in Finland. Every male Finnish citizen between 18 to 60 years of age, living within the country or outside the country, is liable to do national military service. Girls are exempted. Why? For Hanna Tuulonen, it did not make sense: why not girls or fit women? When women want everything at par with males, then the women should also do what their counterparts are obliged to do. She decided to serve in the Finnish Defence Forces. In the Finnish military, she worked in the air-force, territorial and maritime bases, and also in the defence publications where she brought her communications and journalistic skills. Even now, she contributes to the Finnish Conscripts Union.
Working Journalist and Studying Journalism
Hanna is a working journalist. She is the editor-in-chief of a Finnish bilingual website, and steers its functioning from Sweden harnessing the technological advancements in information and communication technologies. She sees 21st century as an opportunity for journalism and media sectors to reinvent and re-emerge in newer ways.
If there is anyone who has an iota of interest in the Fourth Estate, she has an answer: “Journalism is not something that is going to go away. It is not something that is going to disappear. It just has to develop and it has to evolve. The only way journalists are going to have jobs in the future, more like, the only journalists that are going to have jobs in the future are the journalists who are willing to change and who are willing to participate in the change and accept it and make the best out of it and not to be victims of circumstances.”
Skills of working in team and in projects involving collaborations can be handy. Hanna is involved in a project and blogs at sivukonttori.se She sees communications as vital part at the interpersonal level and in the society because ‘without information there can be no understanding and without understanding there can be no acceptance or improvement’.
Investigative Journalism at JMG
Sweden is similar to Finland in many ways. Hanna the Finnish sees Sweden to have more European feel, and she found a course that she wanted to study. She says, “During my bachelor’s studies I found out that besides journalism I was also really into research, and I wanted to combine regular journalism with doing research and then the only option I got was to do investigative journalism. Basically you get to do the research part in the investigating part in it that I love and you also have the journalistic outlet…presented in a journalistic way.”
The one-year course at JMG at the University of Gothenburg is enabling her to focus on academic research, to work in communications and in developing programmes which would be ideal to combine with journalism.
Human rights is one of the areas, Hanna is keen to focus on in the future. Why human rights? “My mom has told me since I was a little child … I always had this … sense of justice … that everyone has to be treated equally. I really don’t know where it really comes from. Human rights and my interest for human rights is apparently essential part of who I am. And, of course, I want to make use of it in journalism.”
Hanna Tuulonen is learning ways of sourcing stories because the course is helping her theoretically and practically combined with guest lectures delivered by experts in the areas of journalism. Also, she likes staying in Gothenburg (Göteborg) for it makes it welcoming! She adds that nobody asks you here like you where do you come from, what you are doing here, why are you here but more like: what are you up to today?
Photos & text by Kovuuri G. Reddy