Narrative Journalism in Finnish Education and Research
Presentation given at Sanoma Academy, May 19th 2014, at a workshop for narrative journalism.
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Narrative Journalism in Finnish Education and Research
in Finnish Education and Research
WORKSHOP ON NARRATIVE JOURNALISM, SANOMA ACADEMY, 19.5.2014
Narrative Journalism in Finnish Universities
• “Narrativity isn’t an individual topic
but is included in several courses
along the studies. This may create
an assumption that it is not being
taught at all.” (Tampere)
• “There is a course on genres in web
and print journalism (4 ECTS). One
of the genres is feature, and
narrativity is discussed as a part of
1 Visiting Professor Elina
Grundström has put great emphasis
on narrative journalism but these
courses are one-time only.
University Course Scope
– Creative expression
and language in
Narrative Journalism in
Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences
• “Narrativity has become more
and more important in
journalism education, even in
the news.” (Oulu)
• “Storytelling was our emphasis
a couple of years back, but we
have switched our attention to
and multimediality.” (Lappi)
• Turku, Oulu and Lappi all have
an emphasis on film and
University Course Scope
– Magazine writing
– Fictional techniques in
– Magazine work
– Print journalism
– 5 ECTS
– 6 ECTS
Lappi UAS – Journalistic storytelling – 10 ECTS
Other Players in the Field of Narrative Journalism Education
• Media companies’ own events: Talentum Events 2011, Bonnier
Storytelling 2008, Sanoma Academy…
• Jokes-foundation (for promoting journalistic culture in Finland),
storytelling workshops, 2009–11, perhaps more to come.
• On-demand education: e.g. Long Play.
• Small circles: Panu Räty. “Regular” foreign visitor: Thomas French.
• Skilled editors as educators: editing educates both staff writers and
Research on narrative journalism (in English)
• Markku Lehtimäki 2005: The Poetics Of Norman Mailer's Nonfiction: Self-
Reflexivity, Literary Form, and the Rhetoric of Narrative. (PhD thesis)
• Maria Lassila-Merisalo 2012: “Taboo-Breaker in Mid-20th Century Finland:
Veikko Ennala”. In: Keeble, R. and Tulloch, J. eds. Global Literary Journalism:
Modes of Narrative Non-Fiction. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 89–102.
• Maria Lassila-Merisalo 2011: “Literary Journalism in 20th-Century Finland”. In:
Bak, J.S. and Reynolds, B. eds, Literary Journalism across the Globe.
Journalistic Traditions and Transnational Influences. Amherst and Boston:
University of Massachusetts Press, 184–207.
• Maria Lassila-Merisalo 2010: “Exploring the “reality boundary”of Esa Kero”.
Literary Journalism Studies 2:1, 39–48.
• Anu Nousiainen 2013: A Bunch of Distractive Writing. Why has fact-based
and extensively reported American style narrative journalism not gained
ground in Europe? (Reuters Institute Fellowship Paper)
Research on narrative journalism (in Finnish)
• Lauri Haapanen 2011: “The functions and editing of quotations in
literary-journalistic magazine articles”. Tiedotustutkimus 34:3, 64–89.
• Maria Lassila-Merisalo 2009: On the Borderline of Fact and Fiction.
The Poetics of Literary Journalism in Finnish Magazines. (PhD thesis)
• Maria Lassila-Merisalo 2008: ”’Their disappointment is concealed from
the nosy reporters’ The Poetics of Literary Journalism in Magazine
Reportage”. Kirjallisuudentutkimuksen aikakauslehti Avain 5:1, 6–25.
• Maria Lassila-Merisalo 2005: “And Pluto-Salminen, well, we already
know him” The narrator’s perceptibility in a personality story
“Takapiru”, Tiedotustutkimus 28:4–5, 28–42.
• University of Jyväskylä: Pipsa Olli: survival stories, Jaana Siljamäki:
personality profiles, Hanna Toivonen: narrative techniques in
newspapers, Jenny Matikainen: nonfictional narratology in news,
Heli Peltoniemi: narrative and the discourse of west, Maria Lassila-
Merisalo: nonfiction in Helsingin Sanomien Kuukausiliite and
• University of Tampere: Markku Nykänen: Enkeli-Elisa case, Emmi
Nissi: narrative structures and techniques in guidebooks and stories,
Sini Kaipainen: reportage literature, Tatu Blomqvist: narrativity in a
multimedia reportage, Elina Nikola: narrative news stories, Anu
Partanen: feature and truth, Anu Nousiainen: reportage…
• lack of writing education in the universities in general, not only in
• lack of interaction between universities and universities of applied
• genre recognition: different terms used in different publications but
even within one editorial office
• current trend in narrative journalism: too much enthusiasm, not
enough craft; stigmatization; overdose; counterreaction.