Media: February 27th, 2007 by PO
‘Star reporter’ writes about himself in Dagens Media. General hilarity ensues as newspapers nationwide fall over themselves to have a chuckle at the expense of a rival magazine.
How could they have allowed one of their own reporters to write a news item about his own court case?
It was embarrassing, as clear a breach of press ethics as the country has seen in decades. Only a swift apology and admission of error on the editor’s behalf would suffice if the magazine was to salvage anything from the wreckage.
Instead, he unleashed a series of statements that will live long in the collective media memory for all the wrong reasons.
Take it away, Rolf van den Brink:
Niclas was available. He was able to do the job quickly because he knew the issue.
Well, yes, of course he knew the issue. He was the issue.
Naturally we want to test whether we can do something like this and see what kind of reactions we get. That was of course part of it too.
Naturally. Of course.
Our job as the sharpest magazine in the advertising and media sector is not to preserve ancient journalistic attitudes, it is to challenge them and dare to show new approaches.
Ancient journalistic attitudes? Eh, is that a modern way of saying press ethics?
I stand behind the decision to publish. And it’s good that it created a debate, even if I’m not sure it’s such a good one.
It wasn’t a debate so much as a laughathon.
Most people seem to think we are idiots. I’m not sure I understand why.
Would it have been better if somebody else at the magazine had written the article?
Yes, somebody else should have written it. Just make sure the readers know that Niclas Rislund works there.
And why stand behind the decision to publish when everybody is telling you that it was the wrong one? Just take a step back and admit your mistake.
And to conclude today’s lesson, here is what you should not have written in your editorial column shortly before your self-proclaimed ‘star reporter’ wrote an article about himself:
There is nothing that journalists like more than being written about. It is understandable. The wettest of dreams. You create news about yourself, you make the news and take the credit and the praise. YOU ARE the news.
Never a truer word spoken.
Newspaper Borås Tidning revealed at the weekend that a Gothenburg firm was given the task in 1990 of supplying bullet-proof windows for one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces in Baghdad.
With Skanska responsible for the construction, the palace was to be an all Swedish affair.
A local army regiment in Borås was charged with testing the reinforced glass.
Heavy weapons were hauled in to a secret testing zone and the windows were pummeled with all manner of heavy ammunition.
Finally, in the autumn of 1990, the mixture of glass and plastic was deemed satisfactory and testing was completed.
Shortly after Iraq had invaded Kuwait, a team of fitters was sent to Baghdad to mount the bulky 6 x 4 metre panes.
But it was all in vain. The Gulf War broke out in January 1991 and the palace that Skanska built was bombed into a smouldering ruin.
The Swedish testers of Saddam Hussein’s bulletproof glass had made the same mistake as the dictator himself: they failed to factor in an aerial bombardment.
Politics: February 21st, 2007 by PR
Fi, very much a vehicle for La Schyman, will now try to transform itself into a community action group, helped by a 400,000 kronor donation from the government.
In its short life, the Feminist Initiative always had about it the air of a boxer without an opponent. Despite headline-grabbing policy statements – more due to Schyman’s charisma and PR savvy than any foundation in reality – and a nice pink logo, the party leadership never managed to get along. One founder after another jumped ship and by the time of last September’s election they had less support than a burnt bra.
The fact is that in the world’s most equal country, there simply was not enough for Schyman & Co to rail against. There may be injustice and inequality and women being beaten by their menfolk up and down the land, but there’s no disagreement in Sweden that it’s a problem to be sorted out. There was no need for the Feminist Initiative, because the country has moved on to the fine details.
In Sweden at least, the gender battle is over. (Although the news apparently hasn’t reached this woman in Luleå.)
Miscellaneous: February 18th, 2007 by JS
You have to wonder what the Alliance is playing at, with its latest wheeze to cut tax on beer and wine. Nothing wrong with this cut, you understand – what is wrong is that they want to finance it by further raising Sweden’s already sky-high taxes on spirits.
The problem with this idea is that more than half of all spirits consumed in Sweden are not bought at Systembolaget (according to industry organization SVL). Rather, they are most often bought outside the country. The reason – Sweden’s alcohol taxes are higher than almost all its neighbours. The tax on a bottle of spirits is 140 kronor in Sweden, 50 kronor in Denmark and about 35 kronor in Germany.
So what exactly is even higher tax on spirits going to achieve, other than to further destroy Systembolaget’s credibility? Lower taxes are needed on all alcoholic drinks , not just on beer and wine. Let’s hope ministers nip this crackpot idea in the bud.
Society: February 16th, 2007 by PR
The BBC paints a heart-warming picture of Sweden’s 10-year rise to be one of the world’s top athletics nations.
In 1996, after a miserable experience hosting the World Championships in Gothenburg the year before, Swedish Athletics was bankrupt. Now, thanks to “amateur enthusiasm” which drives coaches to offer their services for free, Swedish athletes are expecting to bring home more golds than ever from next year’s Olympics.
The reporter, Joe Wilson, seemed to be particularly impressed with the facilities he found in Sätra and Växjö.
“The wooden beams of this huge hangar still smell fresh five years after being built. No-one has vandalised it, it stays open in the snow and it is full. There are at least 300 participants, all apparently under 16, and a host of coaches…
…So on to Vaxjo, a town of around 75,000 with another 15,000 or so in the university campus. It has indoor and outdoor ice hockey arenas, a football pitch, an indoor curling hall, and a huge red barn which contains a full-size artificial football pitch, a running track and Carolina Kluft.”
The real reason for Swedish sporting success may be, paradoxically, that there is little or no tradition of sport in schools. In Britain the school has been the sporting hub for most children. Now that school sport has been eroded with teachers no longer volunteering their services, there is nothing to fall back on.
But Swedish sport is anchored in the community, with parents and volunteer coaches forming the backbone of local clubs. As such, it is driven by people who really care and now find itself in a virtuous circle with stars like Carolina Klüft realising the responsibility they have to inspire the next generation. Swedish sport has a bright future indeed.
As The Local has just discovered, it’s not as easy as it used to be for immigrants to get their hands on Swedish ID cards.
On Wednesday I went to my local branch of Svensk Kassaservice (Swedish Cashier Service) to have my certified Swedish identity card renewed.
The card expired in May of last year and somehow I never got round to updating it. As a newcomer to Sweden the card was indispensable for opening bank accounts, joining video rental chains, and all the other practicalities of life in a new country.
Nowadays it isn’t so vital but the card is still an essential accessory when travelling on internal flights and conducting the odd credit card transaction.
All things considered I really shouldn’t have left it so long, but I didn’t foresee any problems.
I couldn’t have been any more wrong.
The woman at Svensk Kassaservice was friendly and helpful but, after asking me a few questions, she was also the bearer of bad tidings.
Is it more than six months since the card expired?
It is indeed.
Do you have a Swedish EU passport?
No, but I do have an EU passport.
Sorry, it has to be Swedish.
Not for the first time, I wondered why Sweden had even bothered joining the EU if it wasn’t going to grant equal rights to citizens of the Union.
Do you have a Swedish parent or a Swedish wife?
Then I’m afraid you can’t have an ID card.
Until nothing it seemed. I just plain can’t have one.
After she had so successfully burst my bubble, I asked the nice woman when the rule book had been changed.
The new directive from head office came into force at the beginning of the year, she explained.
And every day of the year so far she has had to deal with lines of frustrated new immigrants desperate to gain possession of the certified ID cards, without which they are effectively powerless.
For weeks she has been hoping that somebody will take the issue by the scruff of the neck in an attempt to make these people’s lives easier.
They can’t open a bank account unless they have a job. And they can’t get a job until they have a bank account.
It is a curious circular logic. The question now is, who can rewrite the rulebook and remove Catch-22?
Update: It seems that Liberal Party MP Fredrik Malm is on the case. Here’s hoping that his party’s motion succeeds in jump-starting the engine of Swedish bureaucracy sooner rather than later.
Miscellaneous: February 14th, 2007 by JS
Looking at the reports in the Swedish media on the OECD report into Sweden’s economy, you would almost think that it made no criticisms. Indeed, the report is positive in many aspects, and praise is heaped upon Sweden’s government for its efforts to cut taxes and keep discipline in the public finances.
But the report also lists areas in which Sweden should do better. In fact, it names two ‘key challenges’ – the exclusion of immigrants from the labour market and housing reform – particularly the reform of the restrictive housing rental market.
While the labour market issue is mentioned in Swedish reports, as in this DN article, the criticisms of the housing rental market are barely reported. Given that the report makes a good case for there being a problem (pointing out, for instance, that there are 10 year housing queues in Stockholm), one has to wonder why the Swedish media is so reluctant to take up this important issue.
Are the middle-class journalists and politicians, who the report makes clear are among the main beneficiaries of rent controls, afraid to bring up the issue for fear it might actually lead to reform?
Politics: February 13th, 2007 by PR
“There is a lot the Conservative party has to learn from the Swedish Moderate party in terms of how to win an election,” said Cameron.
Ah, the new politics: ‘learning how to win an election’. There used to be a time when policies that struck a chord with the electorate won an election. Then came a short period when politicians would meet marketers, communications experts and stylists in secret in order to add a little extra fizz to their message. Now the fizz is conducted in public and hopefully nobody will look too closely at the policies.
Presumably that’s how it has to be when, policy-wise at least, everyone’s jostling for a patch of the coveted centre ground. You can please all of the people all of the time if only you keep spinning so fast that you make everyone dizzy.
And talking of going round in circles, we come to the point.
David Cameron comes to Sweden to learn from Fredrik Reinfeldt. Fredrik Reinfeldt, on taking control of his party in 2003, learned a great deal from Cameron’s opponent, Tony Blair – going so far as to adopt the ‘New Labour’ brand for his own ‘New Moderates’ and paraphrasing Blair on snatching power in 2006. Tony Blair in turn famously learned the tricks of election winning from Bill Clinton.
Will Hillary Clinton close the circle by coming over to learn from David Cameron? No? Not even for the sake of symmetry?
Politics: February 6th, 2007 by PR
Quiz time. So who were the first two world heads of government to exchange email?
The answer, according to Wikipedia, is Bill Clinton and Sweden’s very own foreign minister and former PM Carl Bildt.
That’s not particularly suprising. Bildt, who was said to be agog that his predecessor didn’t even have a computer in the office, is something of a techophile. As well as dashing hither and thither on ministerial duties, he maintains two blogs, one in English and one in Swedish. (Doesn’t the man sleep?)
“I’m not entirely certain how I will shape my future in the digital world. This blog in English is one of the alternatives, but another alternative is to do one more geared to the Swedish audience and then naturally in the local language.”
As far as his detailed descriptions of life as a government minister go, Bildt is among the more readable politician-bloggers, packing more meetings into a single post than most people manage in a month.
“Home in Stockholm again after a rather hectic but essentially successful week. It was Brussels, Riga, Stockholm, Paris and then Brussels again.”
Interesting though it all undoubtedly is, there’s something wrong with politicians’ blogs: when you get down to brass tacks, they’re just politicians’ diaries without the fun bits.
Miscellaneous: February 6th, 2007 by PO
It’s 1991. Soviet forces storm Vilnius. George Bush Sr. launches Operation Desert Storm. Popular Swedish singer conquers Rome…
For all students of Swenglish, here’s Swedish comedian Henrik Schyffert’s glorious contribution to the tongue, from comedy show Veckans nyheter.
“The Swenska tjej likes the killar to wisa känslor och städa the badrum. They thinks its manligt for Swenska men to be like a tant. But it’s konstigt because then the tjejgänget go to Grekland and then they want to ligga with the…”
Well, you can see the rest here:
Thanks to Charlotte for the tip.
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