Six Swedish journalists and four Chinese colleagues from Caixin Media recently met in Stockholm for a joint seminar to exchange experiences and establish new contacts. The aim was to define obstacles and opportunities for independent, investigative journalism and to find alternative ways of covering business stories and social affairs.
The two- day seminar had barely begun before a given topic of discussion was raised – Saab. This topic came to characterize the seminar to a large extent since we had breaking news from Swedish media that the reconstruction of Saab was cancelled. Good or bad timing? The coverage of Saab was used for discussion as an example of how reporting works in “reality” and how it could be performed in a more useful and interesting way. Fast news or slow news – what serves readers, viewers and listeners best?
The Swedish journalists’ eagerness to get a unique insight in China was obvious and already during the introduction and presentation part the Chinese participants from Caixin were overwhelmed with questions.
Moving on from introduction, the first task for the journalists was to define their goals – by drawing. The question was “What do you want to be?” and using coloured pens and paper, everyone opened up and shared visions, ideas and experiences most generously.
Also participating during those two days were non-journalists and China experts Marina Svensson, ass. professor at Lund University and Malin Oud, specialized in Human Rights and sustainable development. Both shared interesting and thought-provoking input. Marina spoke about differences and similarities between Swedish and Chinese media and Malin Oud did a critical presentation on how China is framed in Swedish media. With those presentations in mind, the participants discussed their reality as journalists in smaller or larger groups, guided by the seminar leaders Marie Kronmarker and Anita Shum. What does our reality look like? Which are the challenges and obstacles and what possible methods are there of getting around them?
After two days of experience exchange, the participants left with new perspectives and knowledge, concrete ideas and a number of new Business Cards in their pockets.
The two day seminar was organized by Fojo Media Institute with sponsorship from the Swedish Institute.
Reflections from some of the participants’ at the end of the seminar:
– I will go back with the knowledge that many problems we face as journalists in China are universal. It is a relief to know that we are not alone. This seminar also offered an opportunity for me to think about and define my plans for the future. – Sanchez, Caixin
– I haven’t drawn a picture in ten years. It was a good way of getting to know each other and to get to talk about our dreams. This was a good platform for international journalism. We are all qualified journalists and together I think we can achieve qualified journalism. – Fu Tao, Caixin
– I hope Tao’s concrete ideas on how to keep in contact will be realized. Also, a positive effect of this seminar is that I got rid of my prejudices on China. What struck me was that journalism in China is mostly as journalism in Sweden. – Valdemar Lönnroth, TTELA
– This was an eye-opener. Especially Malins presentation on China in Swedish media and how the reporting is either black or white. It’s thought-provoking: how can we avoid the stereotypes when we report on a little piece of a foreign country and still make it understandable to the readers? - Harald Gatu, Dagens Arbete.
– When we were asked to draw our goals I drew a heart in my picture. I did so because I want to put my heart in what I do as a journalist. Meeting with these people, thinking and reflecting together, will support that idea. – Nina Löfgren, SVT
Written by: Jennie Wadén