The Erasmus Generation

Article published on June 29, 2007
community published
Article published on June 29, 2007
Young journalists create media from their own point of view. What influence does our Erasmus Generation have? Thoughts that awoke in EYMD conference in Brussels. It's quite obvious that when you take 270 young European journalists, many of them have done the Erasmus-programme. They have packed their backs and gone to live abroad for one semester or the whole schoolyear.
We are the Erasmus Generation. Or are we? At least the participants of this event seem to be very internacional and multilingual. They study or work in another country or maybe their parents are from different cultures. I'm Finnish and I was an Erasmus student in Spain and then I decided to stay there, to try to work as a freelancer journalist. Surprise, surprise: I managed to start from nothing and really get my living from (young) journalism. But now I suddenly feel like living between two cultures. I cannot imagine how the persons with three or four cultures see Europe or the world. Incredible!

Well, yesterday here in EYMD in Brussels we had a little discussion on the topic. There were people from the Erasmus-organisation, some media-workers and other experts. The people that had experienced Erasmus said that it was the first time they really felt like belonging to a generation. In addition, they got a feeling of being Europeans as well. During Erasmus they learn languages and get fresh ideas so when they go back home and work as journalists they can spread the message. Or with the back up of their experience, they aren't so afraid of actually moving to another country. Anyway, the sense of being European is expanding. In the discussion yesterday the speakers defined the Erasmus Generation flexible, active and capable of working across borders. I certainly agree. Erasmus is amazing. I'm excited about seeing the work we do all over Europe. What are the post-Erasmus journalists like? We already create and use the new media without problems, we have so many skills and studies, we have travelled all over and and besides, we are not afraid of anything. The Europe is open, go, young journalist, go!

The picture seems very positive. And it really is positive. But in reality you always have to cope with some or many problems. Who buys our work? How do we get our ideas through if the media world is controlled by people that don't share our young view? Yesterday the speakers talked about volunteers, that's how cafebabel and many other new mediaprojects work. We should have a passion for journalism without getting paid. Unfare. So, in the end we have to swallow our fresh ideas and Erasmus-feeling and do what the big bosses say? The new generation fighting with the old one. Who's in?