For almost 50 years, Fojo has offered training for Swedish journalists in Kalmar. The format has been basically the same throughout the years: people apply to a course, get accepted and travel to Kalmar for a week full of learning and networking.
The formula has been extremely successful over the years, but in the wake of the covid pandemic, “the Fojo way” needed an overhaul and in 2020 we saw the birth of the new Fojo Academy – an e-learning platform that in time will host video based training, digital classrooms, workshops, quizzes and much more.
It all started with a 2-day training session at “Moderskeppet” – a private company very successful with online video training focused on photography and graphic design. They are renowned for their very strong pedagogical structure and learning this was the purpose of the workshops that Fojo e-learning manager Anders Behrmann and Fojo Head of Education Annicka Flovin attended.
And it was an immediate love story.
The methods and the principles were just what Fojo needed and Anders and Annicka adopted basically everything without hesitations.
“Steal with pride! Why should we try to re-invent the wheel if we can use something that is already working brilliantly?” Anders said afterwards.
So it began. At first very slowly with discussions on how to move forward, looking at different technical platforms for publication and looking into budgets to get funding. And then the pandemic hit and turned everything upside down. We had to re-focus from creating video courses to handling our regular Swedish courses that had to shift from in-person to digital within a couple of days. Creating guidelines, advice and instructions for staff, trainers and attendees was a priority for quite a while until things settled in the late spring.
Finally, in mid-May, we could do our first studio session in Kalmar. The subject was “EU basics” with journalist and EU expert Ylva Nilsson who in the past weeks had written a great script, well suited for the purpose. In the studio, we were supported by Magnus Rydnér, a technician at the Institute of Media and Journalism and a former Fojo employee who a few years earlier authored a study on how to work with e-learning. This study was the actual starting point for Fojo Academy.
Some weeks later, we could publish our very first online video course on Fojo Academy. Since the website needed more content and development, we didn’t do any great launch, but rather kept it quiet and internal. It takes time to build a new platform, but with more content, we are hoping that Fojo Academy will grow into a hub for journalists both nationally and internationally. Soon it will be possible to consume much needed skills focused on journalism: Digital security, spreadsheets, podcast, gender issues, journalism basics, fact-checking and so on.
The plan is also to host online seminars and workshops and at the end of the 2021 offer digital classrooms for all Swedish courses where attendees can collaborate, find information and chat – features that today requires Facebook groups.
With a decreasing number of active journalists in the newsrooms, it’s getting harder for people to take a week off for training. Fojo needs to adapt the courses and offer mixtures of online and in-person courses. We need to offer many different ways to educate and to adopt skills and inspiration.
Fojo Academy is just the start of something that will continue growing in the future…