Photo: Outi Järvinen
Written by Minna Lindgren, Kaija Hartikainen (ed.)
Translated by John Calton
My best memories from the University of Helsinki
When I was in my final year of upper secondary school, I wanted to become a journalist, and I knew I had it in me to be an author. A wise family member told me to study something I was passionate about at the university. “You will learn to be a journalist when you start working,” he said, popping another morsel in his mouth. He was right. I got into the university to study musicology without a hitch, probably helped by the fact that I had played the violin since the age of seven and had also been interested in music theory and history since upper secondary school.
Being a dutiful student, I chose communications as my first subsidiary subject, but soon realised that the point of view at the University of Helsinki was blindly corporate-oriented, not at all interested in the media, so I think I only completed basic studies in the subject. However, sociology, aesthetics and philosophy were a source of endless fascination, and also seemed useful for a journalist.
I was a student in the 1980s, as you may have already guessed. Back then studying at the University was free and unrestricted. I am profoundly happy and grateful for that. At the beginning of your studies you don't necessarily know what is interesting in the world, or useful later in life. Freedom was also linked to the duration of your studies. I started working as a summer intern, reporting for Yleisradio, the Finnish Broadcasting Company, at the age of 23. I did not get out until 22 years later. My studies were drawn out, but I didn't quit the University.
I appreciate my MA title, because there are far too many journalists who never completed their degree. You can only learn this profession by doing it, and you can easily get swept up in the work. Having said that, journalists, of all people, should keep improving themselves.
Written by Minna Lindgren. Translated by Johanna Spoof. Revised by John Calton.
Minna Liisa Gabriela Lindgren
Born 1963, Helsinki
Master of Arts (Musicology), 1994, University of Helsinki
Journalist, Head of Programmes, Finnish Broadcasting Company, 1986-2008