The Why and The How

The Why and The How

The question why is a question that journalists are always asked and a question that always needs an answer. Twice during the last week someone wanted to know from me why I want to be a journalist. Regardless of where I go, what language I speak or with whom I interact this is a question that repeats itself time and time again.

For a long time I have had the belief that being able to answer the question why is the core of everything. This approach to doing things was taught to me more than 10 years ago. The director of a theater group I was part of always wanted to have an answer to the question why and stated that if one cannot answer that question ze doesn’t know what ze’s doing.

Being able to answer the question why is one of the most fundamental things in being a journalist. It is a part of our credibility. What we do is not merely a job, it is something that concerns everybody.

But answering only that question is not enough. We also have to be able address how we do what we do. It is a part of our reliability and something we need to show to our audience and public.

Fake news websites have shaken us up. Countries and news organisation have woken up to a whole new reality. Some readers, a vocal minority, question professional journalists, national medias and truthfulness of the world as it is shown. Manufactured lies and troll armies affect and shape the world we live in. But telling lies is no new invention. What is new is the impact these lies have.

In the middle of all this segregation I feel I am extremely privileged to be in the conjunction of these divided groups of people. I have challenged and will keep challenging the social bubble I live in. I want to believe that so far I have succeeded: on weekly basis I speak with those who are thought of as stupid and uneducated, simple minded and nationalists. I have been acquainted with intriguing people who are capable of fine argumenting but who also read their news from Infowars.com, who believe that the founder of the fake news website MV-Lehti is doing the right thing and people who are not interested in the slightest bit of the world around them. Every time they put me against the wall, question what I believe in and try to make me see their world as they see it.

That is not going to happen. But what has already taken place is that I have started to understand the reasons behind their mistrust. A lack of understanding and transparency explains a big part. This was also concluded in my Bachelor’s thesis. Knowing all this and wanting to understand more strives me to be a better journalist. It also helps me in shaping my practises of work and, hopefully, someone elses as well.

The idea of documenting my story was born already in 2014 but only now do I feel that I genuinely have something to say and share. On the third year into my journalism and communication studies I am ready to reflect and change the world I work in.

This is the main purpose of my blog feed. Not only do I want to tell why I want to be a journalist, I also want to show you how I am becoming one.

About the writer

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Hanna Tuulonen

Hanna believes that without information there can be no understanding and without understanding there can be no acceptance or improvement. She has worked as an editor-in-chief since 2014 and is now EIC for Finnish Conscripts Union. She has a Bachelor's degree in Journalism and Communication with subsidiary subjects in Administrative Studies and Business Studies and is now studying investigative journalism as a masters student in the University of Gothenburg.

hanna@sivukonttori.se
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