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Janne learns to shoot pt4 – Festivals

Summer is now officially over, and so is the festival season. Continuing my annual posts on how I’m learning to take decent pictures, I thought I might share some thoughts on festival photography. If you want to read my previous text on my process of learning how to shoot, please check out my posts on your first camera, club shooting and my rambling on outdoors night shooting with flash. But to the festival shooting [DISCLAIMER: This post is “as long as a year of famine” as we say in Swedish, so proceed at your own risk]:

1. How to get a photo pass?

Getting a photo pass is step number one, and might be tricky if you are new in the game.

Getting a photo pass is step number one, and might be tricky if you are new in the game.

If you are new to the game, this is the first and biggest hurdle. Without a big name in festival photography or the right connections, this may be tricky. Here are the steps and tricks you might take.

Get a system camera. Without one, you probably will not get access to the photo pit.

Find an outlet. Most festivals require you to register via a media outlet. If you don’t have one, check with these: local papers, student papers, music magazines, culture magazines, e-zines and websites. There are also dozens of festival photography websites around today.

Start a music blog. This is what I did. It might not get you access to the big ones, though, and it also requires a bit of journalism.

Get accreditation. Sometimes your newspaper/magazine/media will take care of this, but often it is up to you. Most festivals have an accred/media link on their websites, where you apply for a photo pass. Remember to check it out at least a month before the festival, some tend to close media accreditation quite early.

Start small. If you work on your own, don’t just try to get into the biggest festivals, seek out small ones that might accept small blogs and zines.

2. Preparations

Make a detailed list of what bands you are going to shoot. Here I have even used colour coding to mark out the different stages they play on. Might seem silly, but it's surprisingly helpful.

Make a detailed list of what bands you are going to shoot. Here I have even used colour coding to mark out the different stages they play on. Might seem silly, but it’s surprisingly helpful.

Good planning is half the work. If you show up out of the blue, it will be a mess. Plan everything in advance, all from when to arrive, what to shoot, when to take a break, when to do interviews, how to travel and sleep, what gear to bring, what clothes to wear and what additional props to bring.

Planning. On most festivals with multiple stages you won’t be able to shoot all bands, and you want to keep a lunch and coffee break at some point. Check out what you want to shoot in advance. Make a minute-by-minute timetable so you know when to be where. This makes life so much easier.

Clothing and stuff. Wear comfortable clothes. It’s well and nice to look cool in leather and stilettos, but it will take its toll on your feet, back and legs in the long run. Pack a rain poncho even if it looks sunny. Sandals are nice, but you might hurt your toes if someone steps on you in the photo pit. I always bring a small medical kit for headaches, blisters, rashes, cuts and undesired bowel reactions to festival grub, as well as some toilet paper, you never know with those portable loos. On small one-stage-festivals, I recommends some good reading material, like, you know, a book.

Transport and accommodation. Plan how you move about. Buy train or bus tickets early, and check out the layout of the city or area the festival is located in. If you decide to book a hotel, do so very early, they tend to fill up quickly. Jot down the local taxi number and keep an emergency cash stash somewhere on your person in case of pick-pockets. You don’t wanna get stranded.

3. Gear

My kit at Down By the Laituri 2012. Two cameras, four cheap lenses, and stuff.

My kit at Down By the Laituri 2012. Two cameras, four cheap lenses, and stuff.

Camera & lenses. You don’t need a full frame 6000 euro camera and top of the line lenses (although they do take better pictures). You will do fine for example with the Nikon 3000 series or the Canon 600 or 700 series. As for lenses I currently go with a three or four lens combo: 1: A good low light lens (I use a Canon 50 mm f/ 1.8, cheap and reliable). 2: A wide angle lens, great for dramatic close-ups. A fisheye can give wonderful shots, but a really wide fisheye can be very limiting in a concert situation. 3: A good tele zoom with a minimum range of 200 mm. Crucial for big stages and crowded photo pits. Currently I use two zoom lenses, one short (17-85) and one long (50-200). The shorter one I sometimes leave at home. All of the lenses I use are very affordable.

Other gear: Proper batteries, the ones that come with the cameras are often second grade. Keep spares. A battery grip is handy. Bring a battery charger. Also buy some heavy duty memory cards, you won’t get very far with 2 or 4 gigas. Always have camera cleaning and drying equipment with you; if it isn’t rainy, it will be dusty and sometimes the bands will throw or squirt or blow shit at you.

Extra: If you have a spare camera, bring it. My camera suddenly malfunctioned at Ilosaarirock this summer and I was very, very happy to have my old D400 as a backup. You can also use double cameras while shooting, so you don’t have to stop to change lenses. Don’t bring a laptop if you’re not sure you’re gonna need it. It’s a lot to carry around and internet reception is usually poor. Many festivals have computers you can use in the media area.

4. Arriving

Look up the media area. There you can usually do interviews, rest and have a cup of coffee. This picture is from Baltic Jazz Festival.

Look up the media area. There you can usually do interviews, rest and have a cup of coffee. This picture is from Baltic Jazz Festival, Radio Vega interviewing the board chairman and the festival director.

Try to check out the festival area as soon as you arrive. If you don’t have to shoot the first band, skip it. You’re here on duty, so take advantage of everything the festival provides you with. Seek out the media center and check if you’re allowed in the VIP section. There will usually be a workspace, some sort of lounge, sometimes computers, internet access, coffee (for free if you’re lucky) and sometimes even free snacks. It also tends to mean shorter toilet and bar lines. Seek out the person responsible for media at the festival and get this person’s phone number and e-mail. Check out the layout of the festival area, where photo pit entrances are, is there an interview area, a media entrance and so on.

5. The photo pit

It's not always easy being a festival photographer. When Ozzy doesn't foam you, The Flaming Lips smother you with ballons, as here at Pitkä Kuuma Kesä in Helsinki 2009.

It’s not always easy being a festival photographer. When Ozzy doesn’t foam you, The Flaming Lips smother you with ballons, as here at Pitkä Kuuma Kesä in Helsinki 2009.

As a rule, photographers are allowed to shoot the three first songs of a gig from the pit. But there may be exceptions, so seek out the photo pit entrance at least five minutes before the shows starts. The entrance is usually on either side of the stage. Keep your photo pass and wristband visible for the security guards. If there are special rules, the security personnel will let you know. Obey the rules, they are often for your own safety, as some bands use pyros and other dangerous stuff.

6. Mind your manners!

There are some unwritten rules and good manners to go by in the photo pit. It can sometimes be crowded, but try and keep it civilized. 

No flash. Flash photography is usually forbidden.

No climbing. Without special permission, don’t climb the stage or scaffolding. It may be OK to step onto the crowd fence at the back of the pit.

Don’t push and shove. It may be crowded and you may lose the money shot because someone stands in your way, but pushing will ruin the shot for the other guy, may be dangerous, and it is simply rude. A gentle tap on the shoulder will do the trick.

DON'T DO THAT! Keep your elbows below your head when you shoot, or you'll block the view.

DON’T DO THAT! Keep your elbows below your head when you shoot, or you’ll block the view. This is Finntroll at Tuska in Helsinki, by the way, probably 2009 or 2010.

Keep your hands and elbows down. When standing in front of other photographers, don’t lift the camera above your head, and keep your elbows tucked in and pointing downwards. Otherwise you block everyone behind you (and it is actually better for your back and shoulders). If you need to shoot from above your head, do it from the back of the pit.

Crouch when moving. When walking sideways in the pit, crouch down so your head isn’t in the way of the other photographers.

Remove your photo bag. If it is crowded, please leave your photo bag beside the stage.

Don’t occupy the best space. If there is a very good space to shoot, don’t stay there for too long. A couple of minutes will do, then give other people a chance to get a good shot.

It’s not a competition. Yes, we all want to get the killer shot. But a nice, polite rotation will give everyone the chance to check out the best angles. We’re in this together.

7. You are the newbie

tuska_kid

You might feel small in the beginning, but watch and learn from the old guys and girls, they are usually sweet people. This one from Tuska Festival in Helsinki.

Showing up for your first festival with your cheap camera and lenses can be very intimidating. Trust me, I know, I still feel like the awkward cousin from the country with too short trousers. Everyone’s got cameras the size of footballs and lenses longer than your arm. They all know each other and chat away in little groups and look like this is just another day at the office. Someone asks about your camera and you feel a little ashamed of your small Canon 600 and don’t quite know the tech stuff, umm, it’s the … uh, the lens that came with the camera? Like 55 something?

Don’t worry. They all started out somewhere, too, and most of them tend to be pretty nice and helpful. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice if you need it, people like to be able to show off their knowledge a bit. Then there are those who like too make you feel small by pointing out that the lens you’re using really isn’t any good, but don’t mind them. Remember that it is the photographer that takes the pictures, not the gear. I have seen photographers with kits worth five times more than mine who take really boring pictures. Nice and sharp, yes, but really boring and unimaginative.

Talk to the bouncer! He is nice.

Talk to the bouncer! He is nice. From Flow Festival in Helsinki.

If you’re not sure of the drill, ask the other photographers or the personnel at the stage. Watch the other guys and learn, that’s what I still do to this day.

8. The glamour, the parties!

Sometimes you do drink beer with the artists in the VIP areas, but unless you are as well connected as Kjell Hell, that tends to be the exception rather than the rule. Warlord Nygård of Turisas, Carolus Aminoff (aka Kjell Hell) from Bob Malmström and some drum tech whose name I've forgotten at Tuska VIP area.

Sometimes you do drink beer with the artists in the VIP areas, but unless you are as well connected as Kjell Hell, that tends to be the exception rather than the rule. Warlord Nygård of Turisas, Carolus Aminoff (aka Kjell Hell) from Bob Malmström and some drum tech whose name I’ve forgotten at Tuska VIP area.

I’ve been shooting festivals for six years now, and there are a few reoccurring beliefs that I always have to debunk.

You do it to get free entrance to festivals. Wrong. I do it to get good photographs. Sure it’s nice to see great bands, but the truth is that I barely get to see more than the three songs I shoot, and when I shoot I don’t really concentrate on the music. When it comes to festivals that are not in Helsinki, I have to pay for train or bus tickets and accommodation, which sometimes means hotels. This is sometimes far more expensive than the festival ticket to some small festival in Kotka, that I would never ever go to see if it wasn’t for some band that is interesting for my blog.

You get to meet all the bands backstage and drink free booze. Wrong. With a few exceptions, the media is not allowed backstage. Sometimes there is a VIP section, but drinks are mostly the same price as any other bar at the festival. You can sometimes hook up with some artists there (Tuska is one example), but it is mostly other media types and VIP:s such as sponsors, music biz employees and minor celebrities who get freebies.

You just take some pictures and have a good time. Wrong. I am mostly on my own at small festivals that none of my friends go to. It can be tedious as hell. I’m overweight, have bad ankles and flat feet, which means sore feet, blisters and an aching back – it can be grueling sometimes. Sometimes it is blazingly hot and I get sweaty and gooey and sun-burnt, other times freezing, windy, muddy and rainy. And extremely boring at small festivals with only one stage – listening to one bland metal band after the other, just waiting and waiting for the next one to start. On big festivals I mostly run from stage to stage, as the concerts tend to start 15 or 30 minutes apart. Since there is seldom any place to sit, it is a lot of just walking and standing.

8. The good part.

The photographs. That is what it is all about. Like this one of LCMDF at Spot Festival at Aarhus,, Denmark in 2012.

The photographs. That is what it is all about. Like this one of LCMDF at Spot Festival at Aarhus,, Denmark in 2012.

Of course it isn’t just all pain, or I wouldn’t do it. Music and photography are two of my passions, and music photography maybe my number one passion. It is all about the pictures and the process. It is exciting to try and find new ways to shoot bands, to try and capture the energy of the artists onstage and hopefully be able to convey the feeling of the festival situation. It is magical to me. And for me in particular, it is about following the bands I write about in my blog – that is why I started taking music pics in the first place.

It is always nice too hook up with colleagues. Like these people from YLE at Spot Festival in Aarhus, Denmark.

It is always nice too hook up with colleagues. Like these people from YLE at Spot Festival in Aarhus, Denmark.

And of course it is nice to see friends and colleagues from time to time. The festival photography circle is a pretty closely knit one, and there are photographers I have gotten to know quite well over the years. It’s always nice to catch up and have a chat. I sometimes bump into other colleagues from the world of media or music, and we might have a beer or two – and it might even lead to wet after parties or backstage boozing, but that is certainly the exception rather than the rule. It is fun when it happens, though. But these are people I drink with anyway, so I don’t really need to go to a festival to do it.

9. The pictures

Capture the passion of the artist, like I've attempted to in this picture of Chisu at Kivenlahti Rock 2012 in Espoo, Finland.

Capture the passion of the artist, like I’ve attempted to in this picture of Chisu at Kivenlahti Rock 2012 in Espoo, Finland.

I haven’t written much about the actual photography, since it is pretty well covered in my previous blog posts. But the festival situation is a bit different from club shooting, due to the three song limit. So a few words on that as well.

Don’t shoot at random. It is tempting to try to use every single second of the three song slot. But firing off like a machine gun at everything that moves means you don’t have time to think the shots through, and will leave you with tons of bad pics to go through. Be patient with the trigger.

Catch the moments. A guy and a guitar or a head with a microphone isn’t really that fun. Watch the lights, wait for that moment when an artist does something unusual or powerful, and that’s when you pull the trigger. Explosions, energy, laughter, rage, impressive stances, facial expressions, dramatic lights, interesting angles, all these are stuff to look for.

Get to know the artists. If you have never seen the band before, take a few minutes at the beginning of the first song and try to work out what you should be focusing on. How do they move, which one of them has the charisma that registers on camera? What are the stances and mannerisms you want to catch? What makes this artist special? How does this artist make you feel? That is what you should ultimately try to capture.

Capture that right moment, like here with PMMP at Ilosaari Rock in Joensuu, Finland.

Capture that right moment, like here with PMMP at Ilosaari Rock in Joensuu, Finland.

Be systematic. Although you should always keep an open eye to what is happening, it is good to have a certain pattern to what you do. I tend to try and start out with the wide shots, since it gives me time to observe the artists, the stage and the lighting. That’s about half of the first song. Then I focus on the individual artists to see how they render in the shots. Now we’re halfway through. During the second half I try to catch the most interesting one of the artists on stage and really squeeze out that killer shot. Of course this system never works one hundred percent. Crowded pits and tall stages that obscures much of the band leaves you shooting whatever you can get – and so you try and make the best of the situation. But at least it is good to have some sort of system in the back of your mind.

10. Publishing.

Find the pics that really stand out from the mass, like when Michael Monroe lies down in front of you and looks straight into the camera at Kivenlahti Rock in Espoo, Finland.

Choose the pics that really stand out from the mass, like when Michael Monroe lies down in front of you and looks straight into the camera at Kivenlahti Rock in Espoo, Finland.

Don’t spam. If you shoot for a magazine or newspaper, you probably get one or two shots published. But most of us tend to publish online. And here the rule of thumb is (sorry Krista Siegfrids): less is more. Whether you post to Facebook, a webzine, a photo page like Flickr or Tumblr, a blog or something else, choose a few good ones. Otherwise the good pics will drown in all the mediocre ones.

No identical doubles. If you have the guitar player in whole figure on five good shots: choose one and discard the rest. You have nine good face shots of the singer? Choose the best.

Don’t publish. You haven’t a single good picture of a certain band? Don’t publish any. You have no good pictures of a band, and that band is Metallica? Well … choose the least bad one and do some cropping and editing magic and publish that one. But really, no picture is better than a bad picture, unless you are especially assigned to shoot that band.  

When you get a cool angle, beautiful lighting and a good looking artist, things just fall into place like magic.

When you get a cool angle, beautiful lighting and a good looking artist, things just fall into place like magic. Here’s Night by Night at Trash Fest in Helsinki.

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BLOGG FRÅN SPOT FESTIVAL!

Hellou igen!

Här kommer jag att blogga från Spot-festivalen i Århus så ofta jag hinner och kan. Spot är alltså en nordisk showcase-festival för musikbranschen i stil med Midem i Cannes, men i ett lite mindre format. Från Finland deltar finlandssvenska LCMDF, Kap Kap och Zebra and Snake. Själv ser jag speciellt fram emot att se ett danskt band som heter Of the Wand & The Moon – lite som Leonard Cohen på LSD.

Just nu sitter jag och testar Ny Tids mini-laptop dit jag har lyckats installera bildbehandlingsprogram. Så nån bild ska ni också få från festivalen. Please bear in mind att det här allt görs the good old fashioned way med dator, kamera och sladdar, så riktigt mobilålders real time blogging blir det inte. I mån av möjlighet twittrar jag på mobilen då nåt kul dyker upp, ni hittar mig på namnet JO_Wass på twitter.

Härunder ser ni en mycket preliminär utprint av mina planer för festivalen, alltid bra att ha nån sorts förhandplan för såna här grejer. ‘

Min avfärd blir lite råddig, kom just hem från en ex tempore kvällstur på Yle och försöker räkna ut hur jag ska få alla kameror, datorer, kläder och övrigt att rymmas i en kameraväska och en liten axelväska, jag älskar att resa utan otympliga väskor.

Jag har faktiskt ingen aning hur en sån här festival fungerar, hur man har möjlighet att intervjua folk, ta bilder, mingla etc. men jag antar att det klarnar i sinom tid. I’ll keep you in the loop.

Nu lite packande och sen ett par timmar sömn och iväg till morgonflyget!

See you!

Danske pölse!

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Asylsökande vs studerande

Jag såg nyligen en bekant länka till en bild som snurrar runt på internet, speciellt på invandringskritiska forum, som jämför invandrares och studerandes statliga och kommunala stöd. Bilden finns här nedan. I exempelbilden hade någon lagt till texten: ”Asylsökande 2283 €, Studerande 499 €”. Jag hittar inte bilden längre, eftersom min bekanta tog bort länken efter att hon blev tillrättavisad.

Bilden från YLE-programmet MOT

Men den här klatschiga matematiken – tagen helt ur sin kontext – vill i alla fall påvisa att alla asylsökande automatiskt får 2283 euro i månaden, och att en studerande således också endast får knappt 500 euro. Bilden är dock grovt missvisande, och jämförelsen med studerande bara fullständigt huvudlös. Dessutom är siffrorna föråldrade i dag.

Bilden som finns här har jag nappat från Sannfinländaren James Hirvisaaris blogg, och jag antar att det är därifrån den börjat cirkulera på diverse Facebook-grupper och forum. Hirvisaari räknar själv upp vad siffran baserar sig på. Hit hör 1) Bostadsbidrag 2) Moderskapspenning 3) Arbetsmarknadsstöd 4) Barnbidrag) 6) Hemvårdsstöd 5) Helsingforstillägg på hemvårdsstödet. Så långt alles gut.

Men påståendet om att asylsökande får 2283 euro i månaden är fortfarande fullständigt strunt, och ännu mer så att jämföra det med studerande. Av en rad orsaker, vilket jag ska förklara:

Det första är detta: Bilden visar inte alls vilka stöd som utbetalas till asylsökande, utan vilka socialstöd en normal person bosatt i Finland kan få – som allra mest. Det enda den här bilden (och siffrorna) bevisar är att Finland har ett välfungerande socialsystem.

Bilden användes i MOT-programmet för att illustrera vilka stöd en person som HAR BEVILJATS ASYL kan ansöka om, och i bästa fall få. Orsaken till att personen kan få dessa stöd är alltså att det är en person som är bosatt i Finland, vilket en asylsökande per definition inte är. Skillnaden är alltså att vissa länder inte betalar dylika stöd åt personer som inte är medborgare i landet. Vidare är det fråga om en familj med flera barn som kan få de här pengarna – precis på samma sätt som en studerande kan ansöka om barnbidrag, t.ex. Vi upprepar: De ovanstående stöden har vilken finländare som helst rätt att ansöka om, förutsatt att det är fråga om en arbetslös person med barn, som bor i Helsingfors. Det är alltså inga specifika bidrag för asylsökande eller invandrare. Det enda som i det här fallet skiljer en invandrare från en finländare, är att en invandrare kan ansöka om så kallat integrationsstöd – men i praktiken är integrationsstödet precis det samma som normalt utkomststöd eller arbetsmarknadsstöd. Detta stöd förutsätter, liksom stöden till infödda finländare, att en person aktivt söker arbete eller fortbildar sig.

Visst kan man, om man vill, använda det som en beskrivning på hur mycket det finländska samhället i bästa fall kan betala åt en invandrare, men att på nåt sätt använda det för att beskriva att invandrare skulle vara mer priviligierade än finländare låter sig alltså inte göras.

Dessutom är detta som sagt inte en beskrivning på vad asylsökande får (detta missar också Hirvisaari i sin blogg).

Detta är vad asylsökande egentligen får: 1) En ensamstående vuxen eller ensamförsörjare: 291,16 euro i månaden. 2) Övriga vuxna (t.ex. ett samboende par eller vuxna barn) 245, 98 euro) Med dessa pengar ska de asylsökande betala sin mat, sina kläder, mindre hälsovårdsutgifter och sina övriga utkomster. 3) Om en asylsökande får sin mat på mottagningscentralen, minskar stödet. Det är då 85,34 / 70,28 euro. 4) För barn under 18 är stödet 185,74 euro (55,22 om mat serveras på centralen). Till detta ska naturligtvis läggas det faktum att de asylsökande inte behöver betala för boende, eftersom de ju bor på mottagningscentralen. Detta är siffrorna för 2011, hämtade från migrationsverkets hemsida. De härrör sig till den nya mottagningslagen från augusti 2011 (som inrikesministeriet förkastligt nog inte har implementerat i sin information om asylsökande på sin egen webbsida).

Så jämförelsen mellan studerande och asylsökande faller ju direkt – eftersom de siffror som bilden utgår från inte alls gäller asylsökande. Om man istället jämför med invandrare, kan man då räkna in de förmåner studerande har i Finland. För det första får de flesta studerande subventionerad studentlunch (på min tid kostade lunchen mellan två och fyra euro på Unicafe), så gott som gratis hälsovård, och 50 procents rabatt på fjärr- och lokaltrafik. För att inte tala om alla andra studentrabatter som finns hos affärer, myndigheter, resebyråer, etc, etc. Lägg dessutom till billigt boende i studentbostäder (jag bodde i tiderna i en lägenhet som jag betalade ca 360 euro i månaden för, på fria marknaden hade det blivit MINST det dubbla). Dylika ”invandrarrabatter” finns inte. Studerande med barn får dessutom moderskapspenning och barnbidrag och kan dessutom ansöka om hemvårdsstöd och Helsingforstillägg liksom invandrarfamiljen i ”2283 euros-exemplet” (fast man sätter väl troligtvis ungen i dagis om man studerar). Utöver studiestöd och bostadsbidrag kan man däremot inte ansöka om arbetsmarknadsstöd medan man studerar. Men man kan ansöka om statsgaranterat studielån med låg ränta, vilket en invandrare inte heller kan (såvitt det inte är en studerande invandrare, varvid denna varken har mer eller mindre möjligheter till bidrag än en finländsk studerande).

Så kan vi nu snälla en gång för alla punktera diskussionen om asylsökandes gigantiska bidragssummor? Den baserar sig enbart på okunskap och skicklig retorik från så kallade invandringskritiker som gillar att bända statistiken till sin egen synvinkel.

En HELT ANNAN DISKUSSION är sedan vad det finländska samhället sätter för pengar på integration i form av administration och löner vid myndigheter, utbildning, etc, upprätthållande av mottagningscentralen och så vidare. Men vi ska inte blanda ihop äpplen och päron.

EDIT: Det finns något som heter ”Maahanmuuttajien erikoistuki” (ung. specialstöd för invandrare) som kan sökas av invandrare över 65 eller som är arbetsoförmögna, som rör sig mellan 400 och 500 euro. Detta är en motsvarighet till folk- eller sjukpension. Utan att desto mer ha researchat, antar jag att detta stöd raderar ut möjligheten att få en del andra stöd.

Här finns länkar med mer information:

Migrationsverket: Den nya mottagningslagens förändringar
FPA: Stöd för arbetslösa invandrare
En god sammanfattning av byråkratin i tre kommuners gemensamma integrationprogram
Inrikesministeriet: integration och socialbidrag (obs att siffrorna är föråldrade)
Inrikesministeriet: Asylsökande och flyktingar (obs att siffrorna är föråldrade)
Helsingfors socialverk: Integrationsstöd
Flyktingrådgivningen: 10 myter om invandrare
Flyktingrådgivningen: Asylsökandes ställning i Finland
James Hirvisaaris blogginlägg (obs att siffrorna är föråldrade)
YLEs MOT-program från 2010
Jyväskylä har en nifty liten sammanfattning

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Filed under In the News, Ponderings

Bloggar och drev

Bloggblogg. Jag kastade ett öga på min blogglista i brist på bättre sysselsättning och insåg att nån borde sätta en bunsenbrännare i rumpan på Basse Nyberg. Under den senaste månaden har han genomgått en regression till värsta myspysbloggaren. Helen Korpak fortsätter att ladda upp härliga bilder och Kapten Shrimpi driver vidare på sin ytterst personliga kurs.

Men jag ska speciellt lyfta fram ett inlägg av min favoritbloggare för tillfället, Erik Berg, som driver bloggen Approximation. Så här i samband med den absurda mediekampanjen mot svenska sosseledaren Håkan Juholt, läs inlägget här!

Ett utdrag:

Vi har sett mediedrevet gå förr, dess dynamik är vid det här laget välkänd. Den påminner om vad som sker på en skolgård när ett barn har fastnat i mobbarnas sökljus och en illasinnad ryktesspridning drar igång. Snart är det fritt fram att hitta på vilka lögner som helst om offret och alla är beredda att tro på dom utan eftertanke.

Då jag har lite tid ska jag ta och spinna vidare på ämnet mediedrev, fast tvärtom. Tills dess får ni hålla tillgodo med mina bilder. 😉

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Is media biting it’s own ass?

Shiny new media...

”Too many friends, too many and too cheap. It gives me a thrill, I’m getting in too deep.” Thus sang Finnish sleaze rockers Smack back in the eighties, and I suppose we’ve all felt that at some point using TweetBook. But social media is here to stay, and you want to keep on top of developments in society, that is where you need to be as well. In my last post I wrote about how the ”old media” finally came to understand the importance of having a face on the Book.

The problem, as I wrote, is that traditional media is still stuck in it’s old habits, it’s old ways of working, that is to say, towards a deadline. Social media is always ”now”. And this is is specifically a problem when you try to squeeze this thinking into the world of, say, Twitter. Then Twitter becomes more of a marketing tool than the fast media platform it was intended to be. And this is, of course, one way to use it. But then we are not using it’s full potential. At the moment most large media houses are sort of half using, half not using social media.

Now the problem, as I see it, is that the traditional media is now stuck between a rock and a hard place. The internet has utterly changed the way we look at news. The news is always out there, and we are flooded with information in real time. Newspapers and broadcasters are desperately trying to keep up, but traditional media will never be able to keep up with the fast moving pace of the web, unless you are a 24-hour news channel such as CNN or BBC.

Got to be online!

The problem we get is that traditional media suddenly feels itself as the slow grandfather, and tries to rejuvenate itself by moulding it’s core product, reflecting, analyzing news into this new, fast moving vehicle. We put less and less time on producing the news products so we can get them out faster.

Ironically, the tables have now turned. As more and more newspapers and broadcasters start fiddling with live streams on their websites, making minute-by-minute schedules covering breaking news and concentrate more and more resources to keep up with the pace of the web, bloggers are now starting to adapt the old role of old media. Increasingly, the real analysis is now found with indpendent bloggers, on journalists’ own web pages and blogs and the ”experts” are now feeding the public their analysis without middle hands or filters.

Now the blame for this is not to be put on the journalists. We do as we are told. We write shorter articles, because the executives say the public doesn’t have the patiance for long analysis. We squeeze tv and radio news in a shorter and shorter time frame, since the allotted slot for news broadcast gets smaller and smaller, making way for ”Meidän häät” and ”Kahjot ninjat”. The web journalists, who might produce long and insightful articles on the web, are often reduced to the role of factory workers – to deal out the short, breaking news as it comes in, then move on to the next item. Very rarely do they get the time for actual reflection and research. And since the traditional journalists very rarely take the time to produce longer text ”just for the web”, the traditional media houses’ web pages tend to look like news agencies, rather than reflecting media.

The journalist is out there...

The thinking of Facebook, Twitter and the internet has now spread to the whole machinery of news. Instead of making use of the social media in a correct and productive way, we are trying to compete with it. Do we really have to have a text on our own website before we tweet the news? Is that the proper way to serve the public, or are we just lifting our own tail? We can never beat social media in it’s own game. What we can do is stop to bite ourselves in our own asses trying to do so, and concenrate on what traditional media does best, gather information, process it thoroughly and present the audience with a wider picture. We have gotten so lost in the fast moving media pace that we have now let even our core activity slip to the independent bloggers. The analysis, afterthought, etc is now being spread on Facebook and Twitter. That is where the real debate is taking place, blogger to blogger. Traditional media need to reclaim that authority.

So what am I saying? Yes, the media needs to use social media. But we shouldn’t make the mistake of believing that we are the social media or that we can compete with it. We should use it as it was intended. Have a guy on a computer doing nothing but updating social media all day, all the breaking news in one or two sentences. Then we are out there, and we are staying with the pace. Let the rest of the staff take a step back, concentrate on their deadlines (which can still be sufficiantly hard to meet) and do what they do best: good, solid news reporting. Yes we still need a quickly updated website, but at least the ones who do that job don’t have to worry about Twitter. And then, take back the role as the analyzer, the media that gathers up the loose, wiggling ends and puts them into context, provide some reflection, go deeper into the subjects that skin deep comments fom the minister in charge.

Yes, it is a question of resources and money, but it is also a question of a way of thinking. Just because the web moves at a dizzying pace, doesn’t mean we all have to stay in constant overdrive. The printed page is still not going to update itself any faster, nor can good radio and tv journalism be done without proper time for research and reflection. The public shouldn’t have to comb the web for insightful analysis, we should provide it. And we would love to, given the time to do it.

Respect the old media!

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Mina favoritbloggar

Jag är egentligen en ganska urusel bloggläsare, jag läser blogginlägg nästan bara då nån postar dem på facebook eller twitter. Men det finns några jag försöker följa med aktivt. Här är topp 7-lista på mina favoriter (inte i någon rangordning).

1. Approximation
Svensk bloggare som skriver insatt om samhälle och politik ur ett rödgrönt och lite svenskt perspektiv. Ibland blir det lite onödigt långt och högtflygande, men killen har mycket sakkunskap och en klar analytisk hjärna.

2. Jukka Relander
Journalisten och skribenten Jukka Relanders blogg på Uusi Suomi är kanske Finlands bästa politiska blogg. Klartänkt, tydligt, insiktsfullt och ibland ganska roligt.

3. Kapten Shrimpi
Den här uppdateras alldeles för sällan, men det är troligtvis den roligaste bloggen jag vet. Karln är galen. Och ironisk.

4. The Bloggess
Egentligen en ganska meningslös blogg, men den här kvinnan (professionell bloggare) har ett fantastiskt sinne för svart humor och sarkasm och en fantasi som inte tycks ha några gränser. Allt är inte guld, men då och då vrider jag mig dubbel av skratt.

5. Valfeber
Toffe Gröhn skriver som en av få finlandssvenska journalister en regelbunden politisk blogg. Ibland korta infoflashs, ibland mer analytiskt. Ursprungligen en valblogg, men jag hoppas att han fortsätter kommentera den finländska politiken också efter att vi fått en regering.

6. Jens Finnäs
Jens är frilansjournalist och egentligen är det här en samling av hans publicerade texter, men hans kolumner och artiklar är för det mesta så bra att de lönar sig att läsa i bloggform om man inte kommer över tidningarna.

7. ZXC Music
Så måste jag ju ännu göra reklam för min musikblogg som följer med finlandssvenska artister, med tyngdpunkt på skräpig rock och metal.

Bubbling under:

Några andra bloggar jag gillar; Poppe – finlandssvensk, kort & koncist om media, politik och annat, On a ramble – Sara ute i världen; sol, dykning, ditt och datt och alldeles härliga bilder, Li Andersson – Vänsterungas klipska ordförande, Helen Korpak – fina bilder in a hipster kind of way, Basses bästa – Basse Nybergs serier.

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Ett bloggtips

Nåja nu har jag blivit anklagad för sentimentalism angående mitt TinTin Tango-inlägg. Meningen var nog inte att bli sentimental, utan kanske snarare att belysa en viss livsinställning. Men å andra sidan måste det väl få finnas lite rum för romantiserande ibland bland allt mitt torra polemiserande kring språk och bloggar, jag är ju i grund och botten ändå något av en romantiker och hedonist.

Egentligen skulle jag tipsa om ett roligt inlägg angående Fork som ni kan läsa på Den elaka bloggen.

Strålande analys!

Jag ser förresten nu på en film som heter Spacehunter. Den har allt. Den påminner lite om Spaceballs men är tydligen ämnad att vara seriös, tyvärr. Där är liksom Mad Max in space, plus lite Time Machine, Conan the Barbarian, Star Wars, The Thunderdome, The Running Man, Escape from New York. Och Spaceballs, då. Briljant.

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Filed under Art & Music, Ponderings