Published 2023-12-14

“This is the most impactful endeavour I have been part of”

In September, they packed up and changed floors, workplaces, logins and colleagues. Svenska Dagbladet’s Birgitta Forsberg and Aftonbladet’s Angelica Öhagen share their experience of switching jobs with each other.

Experienced Aftonbladet reporter Angelica Öhagen became a rookie at SvD Näringsliv two months ago. At the same time, long-time SvD employee Birgitta Forsberg joined Aftonbladet’s newsgroup.

“I had never written about economics before, other than straight news, but I have had a very positive experience. SvD Näringsliv is a very good newsroom, there are many people you can ask and it is valuable, especially in the beginning,” says Angelica Öhagen.

She says that she received a fantastic onboarding and that the head of SvD Näringsliv, Louise Andrén Meiton, had booked meetings with colleagues in other departments at SvD.

For Birgitta, the start was a bit more challenging, she was given a seat a bit away from the reporters in her group and therefore felt that it took a lot of work to get into it.

“But I can recommend everyone to try this. It’s fun and educational. It’s easy to get your ideas across and I’ve had a lot of fun jobs. Soon I will write a report that I have dreamed of doing for five years,” says Birgitta Forsberg.

The working methods in the newsrooms also differ, and both Birgitta and Angelica have experienced this.

“I have been able to implement basically all the ideas I had, but also received a few rejections and I am not quite used to that. At Aftonbladet, you are usually met with a yes, go for it, and then you see if it works,” Angelica says and adds that SvD makes a clearer selection beforehand of which ideas they believe in, and it is more of a team effort around each article.

Birgitta recognizes the description that as a reporter at Aftonbladet, you get a positive response to all ideas.

“But,” she says, “it has also happened that an article I’ve written has fallen far down the site after a few hours. I’ve learned to only do jobs I think will go well.”

What is the biggest difference between SvD and Aftonbladet?

“It is a bit more structured at SvD and it is very luxurious that you already have an editor to work closely with when a job starts,” says Angelica.

“Aftonbladet is more like a bunch of wild horses happily grunting and galloping at various things at full speed while SvD tries to school its reporters. Both ways are good and bad,” says Birgitta.

What can SvD learn from Aftonbladet?

“At Aftonbladet, as a reporter, you can get tips or cases from colleagues because there is a helicopter perspective, where everyone knows what jobs are going on. At SvD, reporters in different departments do not have the same overview of each other’s work because there is no planning system that reporters have access to,” Angelica says.

“SvD can really learn from the fantastic morning meeting at Aftonbladet! It’s a meeting for the entire newspaper where a manager, among other things, compares what Aftonbladet did the day before with what other news media did. And the manager is open about when others succeeded better or explains why Aftonbladet made a different choice, with, for example, a name publication or a sensitive interview. This way you understand how to think when writing for Aftonbladet,” says Birgitta.

What can Aftonbladet learn from SvD?

“At SvD, you work together towards clear goals. I think Aftonbladet can benefit from that, to work more structured and to opt out, as SvD does. Then you can spend more time on what you really believe in,” says Angelica.

“To do things more thoughtfully. To stop and explain the big picture in big events, instead of just running with the ball to be first. Having an editor who works with the text so that articles that are not breaking become more elaborate,” Birgitta says.

And what have you yourselves learned?

“Really thinking about my ideas – Will this work? Will anyone click on this? I have also realised that those who read through the text rarely change anything, so I have learned to take greater responsibility myself for, for example, press ethics,” says Birgitta.

“Of course, I have learned an awful lot about business journalism. But I also learned more about the journalistic craft and got more insights into how to work with storytelling. At SvD, there is a constant conversation between reporter and editor about journalism,” Angelica says.

Would you recommend others to try a job exchange?

“Yes, this is a fantastic offer from the employer,” says Birgitta.

“This is the most impactful endeavour I have been part of since I started at Aftonbladet ten years ago,” says Angelica.