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Barbara "Baba" Lybeck

Barbara ”Baba” Lybeck
Born December 26, 1966, Parainen, southwest Finland

Master of Arts (General Literature, Communications and Political Science), University of Helsinki, 2007

Referee, (Finnish) ‘Have I got news for you’ TV panel game, 2010-
Editorial secretary, Puoli Seitsemän, 2009–2012
News reporter and news anchor, (Finnish) Channel Four news, 1998–2009
Presenter, Radio City, MTV3, Finnish Broadcasting Company’s Top 40 music programme and Swedish channel FST’s Bosses Bio, Talking Heads and the Jussi Gala awards 2003–2007

Photo: Mirva Kakko / Otava
Written by Suvi Uotinen
Translated by John Calton

Writing a Master’s dissertation – on top of the day job and the family

Her work as a journalist and presenter kept Baba Lybeck busy throughout her time as a student and in the end working life took over altogether. Lybeck had however made a promise to herself that she would graduate with a Master’s degree before she hit forty.

“When I realised that my fortieth was getting near I decided that now I had to get down to it.”

There was no time for studies, but it had to be found from somewhere. When Baba Lybeck returned to the University in 2004 she was holding down a demanding full-time job on the news team at Channel Four, had two small children to look after and a husband whose work involved a lot of travelling.

Lybeck appreciated the balance her literary studies gave her from the work in the newsroom. She was motivated by a personal subject choice for her dissertation: she analysed the memoirs of her grandfather, the writer Tito Colliander (1904-89).

“Writing the dissertation was a journey into my own identity. By the time I reached forty, I had developed an interest in my own background,” says Lybeck.

The dissertation was drafted during an intensive six weeks of writing. The degree was made possible thanks to the Faculty’s net-based courses, which she was able to complete at home, and even at night.

“The net-based courses were also a lot more interactive than the mass lectures of the 80s and 90s when the lecturer would occasionally speak with their back to the audience and wasn’t the slightest bit interested in interaction. On the net, everyone had something to comment on, and even the shyest got to express their opinions, unlike in the lectures before a large audience.”

In 2007 Baba Lybeck was awarded her Master’s degree – twenty years after her fresher’s year.

“Nobody, but nobody, has been interested in my degree. Not my employers nor my close circle,” Lybeck observes wrily.

Baba Lybeck at the University of Helsinki in 2010. Photo: Mika Federley.​
Baba Lybeck at the University of Helsinki in 2010. Photo: Mika Federley.​


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