Laura Arffman is a sports reporter and newscaster for Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yle). She is especially well-known from Yle’s broadcasts of skiing races. These days, she is also a writer, having just published Mona-Liisa, her first book, in September. Arffman graduated with a degree in political science from the University of Jyväskylä.
Arffman comes from a small town in Eastern Finland. She was bullied at school so she started her upper secondary school studies at another location. Bullying has affected her later choices in life significantly and, therefore, discussing it openly is important to her.
It was not until upper secondary school that she began to ponder her own interests. She was especially fascinated by languages, history and social issues. Journalism, however, began to attract her during the final stage of upper secondary school, while sports came later.
Arffman settled on studying in Jyväskylä because she felt it was a town of suitable size and close enough to her own family. She first started studying communications at the University of Applied Sciences but later also political science at the University of Jyväskylä.
“I studied at both places simultaneously for a couple of years and then I moved to Helsinki,” Laura explains. “After that, I did most of my studies remotely, over a long-term period.”
She thinks her political science studies were competitive at times. Many of the students had already adopted their political views and politics offered a channel for their enthusiasm, which was important also to Laura.
“At the time, I just wanted to be open to the world, though. It was an uncertain period, and that’s also how I felt. You had to become something special and find your way, but where to? It was as if you were in a hurry to live, but what kind of life? Perhaps I found the relevance in my work but I still considered it important to complete my studies.”
At the beginning of her journalism career, Arffman completed the practical training of her communication studies at the sports magazine Urheilulehti. However, the training dragged on and, all of a sudden, she found herself at the Beijing Summer Olympics – the trip to China took more than two months. “The trip left an impression on me and so I chose China as the research subject in my later studies,” she says.
In autumn 2008, Arffman began work as a sports reporter for Iltalehti. A couple of years later, she started working as a newscaster on Yle’s late-night news and soon began working other shifts, too. In autumn 2011, she began work at Yle’s national news department.
“It was then that I quit working as a sports reporter for Iltalehti. I was working really long hours at the time. Although I was looking to leave sports journalism altogether I found myself working as an Yle sports reporter in January 2012, which was actually a good thing,” she says.
During her time as a journalist, she has seen and experienced a lot. The ability to comprehend the big picture and a wide-ranging understanding of events are things she feels she learned from her studies, and which she still makes good use of in her work.
“In my opinion, continuous learning is a permanent part of all work today. It’s not just about technological development, but it’s also an attitude we use to guide our actions.”
This autumn, Arffman published her first book, Mona-Liisa. It is a touching but joyful memoir about her late friend, the multi-talented cross-country skier, Mona-Liisa Nousiainen.
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