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”Journalists rarely meet young people”

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Patricia Svensson had an eye-opener in the project Local democracy in a digital world. It was the meeting with a handful of young people who told about their visions for Falköping, a meeting that happens all too rarely. In the Medier & demokrati podcast episode 17, Patricia Svensson talks about her experiences and insights from the project.

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In the project Lokal demokrati i en digital värld local news media and libraries collaborated to organize activities and events before the election last fall, with the aim of strengthening democracy. Patricia Svensson was then editor-in-chief at Falköping Tidning and led the work in collaboration with the libraries in Falköping. One feature that turned out to be more rewarding than they thought was a collaboration with the municipality's young holiday trainees.

"Look at how bad we journalists are at talking to the young for real, and find out what they think. How we can be stuck in our old ruts and not broaden our horizons" says Patricia Svensson in the podcast. 

"Just being able to sit down with the young people and discuss Falköping's future, what they are thinking about before an election, was an eye-opener for me." says Patricia Svensson in the podcast.


The young people turned out to be extremely knowledgeable, and very local and close in their way of thinking. When they talked about the climate issue, they brought up that there should be more trash cans and questioned why they couldn't sort garbage at their school.

"They were so very concrete when they spoke, in a way that was really striking. You wish adult politicians would talk more like them."

It was largely thanks to a collaboration with the municipality's youth strategist that the newspaper and the library got in touch with the young people.

"She had a great direct link to the city's younger citizens that we could take advantage of."

"Getting some kind of bridge for this age group will help, I think, says Patricia Svensson."

In addition to finding a bridge to young people, Patricia Svensson believes that genuine curiosity is needed for newsrooms and journalists to be able to capture young people's views and perspectives.

"You really have to be curious about what they have to say, not just meet young people because it sounds good to have talked to a bunch of teenagers at some point."

Listen to the podcast to hear more about lessons learned after the project, why local presence is important and how the media can collaborate with other actors without losing sight of the journalistic mission.

ABC about ”Lokal demokrati i en digital värld”

Project time: 1 January 2022 - 30 June 2023.
Participants: Borås Tidning, Falköpings Tidning, TTELA, biblioteken in Borås, Falköping and Vänersborg and Södertörns högskola and Förvaltningen för kulturutveckling i Västra Götalandsregionen.
Financing: The project covers almost 1.3 million SEK and is co-financed by the Västra Götaland region cultural committee with 600,000 kroner. Other funding consists of contributions from participating actors.