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Áile Aikio

Áile Ingá Aikio
Born June 8,1979, Utsjoki

Master of Arts (ethnography), 2012, University of Helsinki

Amanuensis, 2005- (leave of absence autumn 2013-), Sámi museum Siida
Journalist, 2013–15, Yle Sápmi

Photo: A. Aikio
Written by Áile Aikio and Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta (ed.)
Translated by John Calton

From museum to mass media

In the autumn of 2013 I came to the conclusion that I needed a break from the Sámi museum. I happened to having a chat outside a shop, and one thing led to another: I was offered a job working for the Sámi radio and TV channel of the Finnish Broadcasting Company, Yle Sápmi. My work as a broadcaster meant a fresh start and a leap almost entirely out of my comfort zone. The move has proved to be one of the best decisions I ever made, although on occasion I do miss the museum world.

The Yle Sápmi office, based in Lappish Inari, is a quadrilingual workplace where nearly all the employees are Sámi. The language we use is almost exclusively Sámi t, or a mishmash of languages involving the three Sámi languages, borrowing words from Finnish where necessary. Yle Sápmi represents an oasis of Sámi language and culture in Finnish society, where even in the Sámi region the Finnish language is predominant.

I began work as a reporter and broadcaster in December 2013. Initially my job was to broadcast radio and internet news and manage radio news broadcasts. As a counterbalance to this, in the spring of 2014 I started to present daily shows in Sámi, based on interviews and reports.

Then in the late spring it was suggested that I might move over to the television side, presenting Sámi news as part of a team of three anchors. In December 2013 Yle Ođđasat had begun broadcasting a national five-minute roundup of TV news in Sámi. The broadcast is watched daily by about 100,000 viewers from around the country. I couldn’t think of a single good reason for saying no to the offer.

As a presenter on Yle Ođđasat I’m not only responsible for piecing together the broadcast together with the head of news, writing bulletins and subtitling the broadcasts in Finnish, but also sorting out the make-up, hair and choice of clothing. And naturally the presenting itself and putting on the final touches with the director. Work as a reporter, and even less as a TV presenter, was never part of my career plan; nor have my studies had anything to do with the media or broadcasting. However, I’ve noticed that an education in the humanities can be pretty handy. I would say a background in the humanities offers a foundation for a wide range of employment and suits the job of reporter down to the ground. It’s an area of study that demands the ability to quickly assimilate large amounts of written material covering large subject areas, all of which has been an advantage working in the media.

In that way I’ve been able to make up for the long hours I have spent, untrained, cutting material, translating and other editing work.

In addition, the ability that study in the humanities both demands and produces – the ability to produce clear and correct texts – is needed every day. Producing written material has become central in radio work, with the increase in net-based activity.

I have been especially in my element as a reporter dealing with traditional Sámi culture and handicrafts, areas where I have been able to draw on my own expertise and education. I tried to bring these themes to the fore in my broadcasting, either for the net or continuity work.

An arts background is flexible and gives you the chance to find a place in working life that doesn’t necessarily match the conventional expectations of the education or training. So there you have it: with a training in museology, you might end up working in television, if you only find the courage.

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