When I was studying the third year of my Bachelor degree in Journalism, one of my professors talked us widely about the nordic media model. The best example of it, he said, was Helsing Sanomat, the leader nordic newspaper in terms of subscribers. The theory seemed interesting but I never thought that one day, five years after that, I could visit its newsroom in Helsinki.
Yesterday was our work media placement day. Each of us had been assigned to a different Finnish media organization, according to our professional backgrounds. Alongside other four fellow participants, I ended up in Sanomatalo, the glass building that hosts Helsingin Sanomat, Metro and some other companies from this conglomerate.
The first person we met was Jaakko Lähteenmaa, managing editor of the journal, who accompanied us to the morning editorial meeting, in which we were introduced to the other editors. Everybody was very nice and kind to me, and apparently all of them had heard something about the Foreign Correspondents Programme. This is not new for us, it seems that the whole Helsinki knows that we are here!
In that meeting, I was assigned to the domestic news department. I had a tour around the newsroom to meet the rest of my colleagues. At the beginning I did not know if my presence there could be of any help as I can’t speak Finnish, but it turned out that there was something I could do! Matti Huuskonen, a senior reporter, had been writing about a Spanish nurse that moved to Finland a year ago to work with elderly people. In his stories, published since several months ago, Mr. Huuskonen explains how Maria has been dealing with the Finnish language and the completely new atmosphere in which she is living now. The series is about to finish soon, so I was commissioned to write a short comment providing some context on why so many young and well educated Spanish people are seeking for a new life abroad. The text, around 1.000 characters, will be translated from English into Finnish and published this Saturday, so I hope you find it interesting!
Visiting the newsroom and talking with some of the best Finnish journalists was an enriching experience and I felt very lucky to be able to contribute to their daily work.