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Arvi Lind

Arvi Kullervo Lind
Born December 21, 1940, Lauritsala

Arts student, Finnish Literature and Finnish Language studies 1962–1965, University of Helsinki

Journalism and mass communication studies 1979–1980, University of Tampere’s Further Education Centre
News translator and subtitler, reporter, anchor 1965–2004, Finnish Broadcasting Company
Member of the Finnish language committee 1991–2003, Institute for the Languages of Finland
Honorary member of the Vyborg Student Association 2013

Photo: Arvi Lind
Written by Heta Muurinen
Translated by Joe McVeigh

From “motley lip smacker” to the people’s favourite

News anchor Arvi Lind began his long career in unfavourable circumstances.

When Lind came to the FBC, the news anchors at the time were Kauko Saarentaus and Heikki Kahila, stars adored by the Finnish people. However, the new radio and television news manager, Ralf Friberg, decided to knock them off their pedestals.

Lind was working as a news scriptwriter at the time.

– Newscasts were translated into Finnish from English source texts and the news anchors would read them at the end of the programme.

Friberg, in his reforming zeal, made the young scriptwriters read the news.

– The people vented their anger on us when we replaced their favourite figures.

Letters to the editor were filled with comments like: “Now they’ve employed a motley bunch of lip smackers with eastern accents as news anchors.”

The first broadcasts made the young anchors nervous, and Lind felt his mouth dry.

– I wet my mouth with my tongue, and my colleague Yrjö Länsipuro had a full beard, which was new. Also, some of the journalists were from Savo and you could hear it from their speech. We were insecure and nervous, the work wasn’t easy.

Lind cites the late long-term FBC correspondent Erkki Toivanen, who stated that there was nothing ridiculous about the old broadcasts, even if they looked old-fashioned and amateurish.

– When you look at them now you realise that it was pioneering work. The work was done with the methods of the day for the society of the time.

The style was long-winded and the news items and features were much longer than today.

– An item of news could be up to four minutes long, whereas today two minutes is the maximum, which is probably still too long for the concentration span of today’s digital youth. The patchwork-style and digital speed of news programming is indeed something entirely different from the 1960s.

However, Lind can see a continuum from the first years of the FBC to the present day.

– Serving the people has been the main objective from the start. The kind of marketing perspective that aims to hook the viewer came later, but even that is a purely positive development.

When Lind started as a news anchor, there were two news broadcasts a day, at 6:15 pm and 9:15 pm. Today, news programmes are broadcast nearly 24/7. Nevertheless, their work still kept them busy in the 1960s.

– Even back then there was the anxiety of not being able to finish a story; I had nightmares about it. Many people are under the misconception that the news anchor just reads the news. In reality the anchor collects and edits material just like any other journalist.

Although one best learns work by doing it, Lind has also participated in the FBC training department’s many training programmes, both as a student and a teacher. He also made study trips to the United States, Germany and Sweden.

The annual celebration of the Wiipurilainen Osakunta student nation, March 5, 1966. Arvi Lind front middle. Back right inspector – later bishop – Erkki Kansanaho.


Over his 40-year career, Arvi Lind became an extremely popular and trusted news anchor. As late as 2013, respondents in a survey conducted by Valitut Palat (Finnish version of the Reader's Digest) considered Lind the most trusted news anchor, although he had retired nearly ten years before.

Lind is satisfied with the present quality of his previous employer’s work.

– The FBC is a good medium, with good, competent reporters. Nevertheless, I do see some small irregularities in language use.

That is natural, as Lind has long been something of a language pedant. During his study years he planned to become a Finnish teacher, and when he worked in the newscast he would edit his own texts and help others with good grammar.

In addition to his day job, he was also a member of the Finnish language board for twelve years.

– It was thanks to Riitta Uosukainen that I was invited to join the Finnish language board. There I learned to have a more flexible outlook on language, although some reforms do irritate me.

After retiring at the beginning of 2004, Lind stayed on at the FBC for a further four years as a language assistant, maintaining a language feedback forum on the broadcaster’s intranet. When the publisher Tammi became interested in the material, Lind and FBC copy editor Kaarina Karttunen used it to write the book Arvin kieliopas.

– Three editions were published, and they all sold out.

The book focused on the language and style of reporters.

– I tried to hand down what I myself had learned, first at university and later at the FBC.

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