By Evelina Kulp
Anders Eklund, 38, started working as a journalist in October 2006 and has been a specialised Crime Reporter at the daily newspaper Vasabladet since April 2014.
When and how did you start your career?
I got a substitute as a reporter at Jakobstads Tidning in 2006. I was a correspondent in Kokkola so I didn’t work from the head editorial office. Being on my ‘own’ was a real growing experience for me since I was new in the business but got a lot of responsibility.
How did you become a Crime Reporter?
I was working at Vasabladet when I got the job of reporting on the criminal and extremely violent group United Brotherhood, that had been threatening, blackmailing, torturing and murdering people in Vasa (where Vasabladet is based). When I followed their trial, I realised that I could make something new out of this type of reporting – I described the whole story in scenes and made it follow a plot. Still staying objective of course. After that my editor-in-chief at the time, Camilla Berggren, offered me the role as a Crime Reporter.
What kind of feedback do you get on your work? Is it different as a Crime Reporter than as a General Reporter?
For myself, I’ve noticed that the response of my work has changed a lot during the past two years. Nowadays it’s quite common that people contact me about what I’m writing to give me some more background information. Last week I was writing about a female economic criminal and I was contacted by a former business partner of hers. She gave me a lot of information that I wouldn’t have been able to get otherwise. It gave the whole story a whole new perspective.
You were awarded for your investigative article called “The Vaccine War” that was a longread. Is there a future for investigative journalism? How much of your time can you spend on those types of projects? Now is the prime time for investigative journalism, it’s what the readers crave most. There is a real need for pieces that analyze and put things into perspective. I think it’s a backlash from the enormous amount of shallow information.
I might be spoiled with my employer that really trusts me and lets me dig deep into my projects. At the moment I’m working on two different investigative projects, alongside with my daily work as a Crime Reporter.
How do you think the daily job of a journalist has changed through the years? What impact has the internet had?
I think this era of “website first” or wanting to be “first” with a piece of news isn’t always the best because it’s better to wait until everything is confirmed before publishing.
Are journalists under more pressure now than before? Are there any differences in what is requested in regard to competence or productivity?
To me, competence doesn’t seem to be as important anymore. A lot of things are just done because “they have to be done”. But on the other hand, good journalists always get jobs. They don’t grow on trees, but the good ones always get picked up. So in that sense, competence still matters.
What do you think of journalism today in general, as a producer and consumer?
I think that there’s an unnecessary amount of expressing “opinion” in today’s media. Everyone has to have an opinion about everything even though they may not know much about the matter they’re commenting on.
But, I think that Fenno-Swedish journalism is better than it has ever been before, it’s really at a peak. And at the moment the readers really trust us journalists, which wasn’t the case even five years ago. Hopefully we’ll be able to keep that trust.