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Old struggles, new ideas of Danish journalism professor

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07be22f562On a rainy day in Aarhus I met a sunny person for an interview. And it made my day. Line Hassall Thomsen is just an incredible person, she was extremely open and friendly during all our meeting.

I met Line just one week after her successful PhD defense. The topic was “New Struggles, Old ideas, the everyday struggle towards being a “Good journalist” inside public service TV newsrooms in the UK and Denmark” (if you understand Danish here is the link of her interview).

Line lived in London for 10 years (as she noticed by chance it were years of Tony Blair’s rule) and there she studied journalism. She was working at a newsroom in the Great Britain, when they were preparing reports about impacts of tsunami. She was looking for hundreds of terrible photos, and in some moment it was too hard and she went to bathroom to cry. To her surprise there were 2 other crying women. They talked about the photos, but in a moment they dried tears, renew mascara and went out professionally to continue to work.

It was the moment when Line thought that all of the journalists in newsrooms know how to work and what to do, and there are things that they don’t do (like showing their emotions). But nobody taught them this. So Line decided to study newsrooms and their tasks. And in 2007 she applied to Aarhus University for PhD. During her research it appeared that all 4 newsrooms she studied were very similar, they all have the same struggles with economic and digital situations in the world, they all look all the time for good news stories, they have to be quick and journalists who have to work nowadays in 3 different news platforms at the same time (radio, TV and newspapers) often feel frustrated because they are afraid not to become good in their jobs.

Line is also teaching at university. Last year she had 3 courses: “Journalists’ methods”, “Communication in the city” and “Marketing and branding”. The second course she likes the most, they learn how to be part of the city and as a task for this course students have to do flashmobs (yes, being a student in Denmark is fun and very creative), and you can see several videos by these links.

Line is not only talented journalist and teacher, but she is also a poet. Before she was thinking how to combine her love to poetry and for telling stories, but then decided it would be better if they would go separate ways. While she lived in London she organized “Y poetry club” in 2006 with her friend Steev. For the meetings they were looking for a place where you can relax and to share your poems, without being afraid to be laughed, where great people could come and enjoy homely atmosphere. They found a nice pub in London and organized poetic evening monthly.

When she moved to Aarhus, Line organized also “Y Aarhus poetry club”, it was a place where I had a pleasure to meet Line and to ask her for an interview afterwards.s200_line.hassall_thomsen

Now Line wants to find a way to combine her pedagogic career with writing articles to Danish newspapers, hosting the poetry club, with raising a child and being a wife. For her is very important to have this balance, like this she feels happy and not too focused only on one side of her life.

And to finish today’s post I would like by Line’s story of success. Before she studied journalism she wanted to have a work experience. She wanted to write travelling articles. And she decided that a journal “Vagabond” is the best in this area. So she went to the editor to ask for a job. She had to wait long time, because editor was extremely busy. And then she noticed the door in his office was open and he loudly discuss with his photo editor how to make an article about New Zealand. They had a lot of beautiful photos but they didn’t have text for them. So Line knocked in his office and said that she has been in New Zealand and wants to work for the magazine. They were very surprised, of course, and then editor said something that Line still remember, he said “Why should I hire you, if I can hire half of Copenhagen?”

And then Line answered “You have a problem now and I am just here”. In the end the editor decided to give her 5 days to write 3 articles. Line handled with this task and she worked  many years for this magazine.

The life lesson was to believe in yourself, that you can achieve everything you want. One day Line believed she can be a good journalist and it was decision of her life.

Hope Line’s example will help you to believe in yourself and in your dreams!

One thought on “Old struggles, new ideas of Danish journalism professor

  1. Pingback: Meeting with café- owner | elille

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