To gain insights to stories that ought to be investigated
Stirred by changes in journalism and changing journalism, Karin Johansson chose to study Investigative Journalism at JMG.
Twenty-first century journalism is marred by online news sourced by all and sundry, and misinformation. On top of that jobs in journalism are increasingly becoming short-term contracts: security and stability for working journalists are becoming rarer. Yet, Karin Johansson resolved to establish herself in the profession with greater resolve for the digital age.
A practising journalist at Östersunds Posten, Karin enrolled on Master’s in Investigative Journalism at JMG, not only to achieve an academic qualification but also to satiate her curiosity, to find answers for the challenges in journalism, and to contribute to the profession in a meaningful and credible ways either locally or nationally or globally. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Mid Sweden University in Sundsvall, and studied TV journalism for a semester at Aarhus University in Denmark. She interned at Sveriges Radio and worked at the local edition of TV4, and went on to work fulltime at Östersunds Posten. In 2016, she chose to study the Master’s programme started by the JMG in order to learn more about investigative journalism in the backdrop of globalization, digital journalism and the unfolding opportunities for independent journalists.
You learn new things everyday…about the society, about the system.
Consciously, Karin chose journalism as a professional career albeit aware of the pay packages and professional instabilities. She asserts: “My choice of being a journalist was not about income but because of the ideas…a lot of ideas. Now I can go to learn a little bit about lot of things. You meet a bus driver one day, then a professor, or a politician. You learn new things everyday…about the society, about the system.”
She is studying investigative journalism (2016-2017) to build upon her existing journalistic skills and to gain insights to stories that ought to be investigated. She is concerned of the misinformation on-line, and its repercussions on readers. Moreover, she is worried about the cutting-down of staff in the newspapers and broadcast organizations. But, not a pessimist: she sees the need for journalists to reinvent their storytelling techniques and find new platforms because professional journalists are valued for credibility.
Hailing from the county of Jämtland in northern Sweden, Karin shifted to Gothenburg to pursue her Master’s degree. She is cherishing her determination to come down here albeit fraught with some misses, and the comforts of home and hometown. She pines for her Frans the dog but her studies are also a priority, and Gothenburg is a happening place…’an air of warmth and welcome’!
Upon completing her Master’s programme she aims to work as a journalist, or to be in the academics to teach and research on a topic of urgent concern.
...exploring newer platforms for investigative journalism
Currently Karin is experiencing new ways of working, developing contacts, exploring newer platforms for investigative journalism (crowd-funding) at a time when the green shoots of independent journalism are emerging. She is refining her story-telling techniques and how to add in-depth content to news items. “I am used to write articles and that’s what I have down. Now I have the time to sit down and look at the articles. We discuss the projects we are doing. We analyse them, ask questions…why did you do this way and that way?”
Is it correct for journalists to vouch for an idealism and ideology of one’s choice, and campaign for their idealisms and ideologies through their work? Karin Johansson is aware of the activist- and campaign-journalism but she is neither Left nor Right nor Centre. Her ideological leanings are based on the grounds of ‘fairness’, and to work for a society that is ‘fair for all’.
The Master’s Programme at JMG has a combination of theoretical aspects and practical assignments that demands to be on the field and investigate an issue or topic of public importance. She says: “I came here to learn lot of things and be inspired… I like this data journalism and the new tools and programmes and how to collect information and analyse it.” Because the programme has experts in journalism and media giving guest lectures, and with a faculty at JMG with vast experience in research and reporting in all areas of journalism and media.
The composition of the class makes Karin feel that she is in the midst of international environment. The international students are helping her to build contacts and explore opportunities to work on collaborative projects that involves stories beyond one’s borders and territories.
Text and photos by Kovuuri G. Reddy