Anna-Karin Ernstson Lampou (MJ, 2013) holding a copy of the Nepali Times at a newsstand in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Anna-Karin Lampou (MJ, 2013) holding a copy of the Nepali Times at a newsstand in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Anna-Karin Lampou, a Master of Journalism student from Sweden, is interning at the Nepali Times in Kathmandu, Nepal for six weeks over winter break.

Here is what it was like for her last week:

December 16

Sunday – the first day of my second week here in Nepal.

I’m getting used to the noisy, dusty, and polluted streets of Kathmandu and starting to see its beauty.

What is less easy to get used to is the constant lack of electricity or an Internet connection, which are crucial for writing stories and doing research. Somehow, Kathmandu’s papers still come out, thanks to equal doses of passion and backup power.

We’re having our power cut for about twelve hours a day now due to Nepal’s insufficient energy supply. In order to see some progress and development, I think it’s really in the interest of the nation to take advantage of its rich water resources.

I attended a human rights conference this morning. Because Nepal is still politically unstable following the civil war, which resulted in the end of a 240-year old monarchy and the establishment of a federal democratic republic in 2008, it’s important for the country to come to terms with its past.

So far, no one has been held accountable for what happened during the decade-long conflict and people are calling for the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

I won’t be reporting on the conference itself, but I have had the opportunity to talk to people working for human rights at the grassroots level. The plan is to head out near the end of my stay to one of the districts where an organization trains “human rights defenders” to support the civil society.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed I’ll be able to fit it in.

In the afternoon I met with the editor-in-chief to discuss story ideas. His thoughts and advice are invaluable when pitching a story.

Before I arrived in Nepal I had a long list of topics in mind, but it’s one thing to sit in another part of the world and brainstorm some ideas, and another to actually be here and write for a paper which has covered almost everything already, from all sorts of angles.  What’s new for me might be old news for Nepal, so I’m trying to find a balance between my interests and stories with newsworthy angles.

Since the Nepali Times is a weekly newspaper, its articles are more in-depth, like feature stories, and are able to take the reader further than the fast hard news of a daily paper.

It’s a motivating challenge to apply what we’ve learned in class to actual stories going to print.

December 17

Monday – I’m writing a story on how three of the  Nordic countries – Norway, Finland and Denmark – make up the second-largest bilateral donor to Nepal.

A quarter of Nepal’s GNP comes from foreign donors, so I thought it would be interesting to see how the donors perceive the future development of the country. I’m also investigating why Sweden, the largest Nordic country, is not present in Nepal, while the others have had such a strong presence here for decades.

Last week, I interviewed the Finnish ambassador about foreign aid.  Today I went to the Norwegian embassy for more interviews. I think it’ll make a good story.

December 18

Tuesday – Christmas is coming and we’re doing a Christmas special on bakeries and chocolate. The editor sent me to meet a woman who makes homemade chocolate in Kathmandu’s only ’chocolate factory’. Yummy 😉

[Lampou’s article on Kathmandu’s Christmas chocolate may be read here.]

In the afternoon I went to Gopalkrishna Gandhi’s talk about leadership in South Asia. It was a thoughtful speech by the Mahathma’s grandson.

December 19

Wednesday – I met the Danish ambassador to conduct the last interview for the Nordic donor story.

Once again it was pretty clear from the interview that the Nordic countries stand strongly for democracy, focusing on social sectors to strengthen national institutions and – at the government’s behest – to increase investment in infrastructure, energy and growth.

Anna-Karin Lampou (MJ, 2013) in the Nepal countryside.

Anna-Karin Lampou (MJ, 2013) in the Nepal countryside.

December 20

Thursday – Today is the big deadline day as the paper goes to print in the afternoon. Can’t wait to see my byline in Friday’s paper!

Thursdays are very dynamic in the office. It’s a small team so the editor, reporters, and designer work closely together with editing, proofreading, and final cuts.

Apart from some proofreading, I spent most of the day writing my story, transcribing the interviews (which takes ages) and doing some other research.

Everyone is competing against the electric power outage that can hit anytime. Ctrl-S (to save our work on the computer) quickly becomes a mantra.

December 21

Friday – I finally got a hold of Nepal’s foreign aid division for my story on Nordic aid.

I got a driver to take me through the tight security controls at the Ministry of Finance for an interview with the chief of foreign aid. Like many other people I talked to, he had hope for Nepal’s future, but emphasized some crucial steps that Nepal has to take in order to reach its development targets.

It’s such a great opportunity to be here and meet all of these people who share their viewpoints on Nepal.

[Lampou’s story on Nordic aid to Nepal may be read here.]

28 December 2012

Diary of an Intern at The Nepali Times

Anna-Karin Lampou, a Master of Journalism student from Sweden, is interning at the Nepali Times in Kathmandu, Nepal for six weeks over winter break. Here is what it was like for her last week: December 16 Sunday […]
20 December 2012

JMSC Students Clinch Record 70 Internships in 10 Different Countries

JMSC students have landed 70 internships at media companies in 10 countries over the fall semester and winter break. The number of internships is a quarter higher than last year and the highest for one […]
20 December 2012

Diary of an Intern at The Myanmar Times

Tony Yoo, an Australian who entered the Master of Journalism programme at the JMSC this year on a Data Journalism Scholarship funded by Google, is interning at The Myanmar Times in Yangon, Burma during the […]
19 December 2012

Master of Journalism Programme Admission Briefing

Are you intellectually curious? Are you persistent? Do you want to get to the true story behind events? If so journalism might be the career for you. Come find out more at the Journalism and Media Studies Centre Master of Journalism Programme Admission Briefing.
11 December 2012

Academic Predicts China’s Censors Will Loosen the Gag

China’s strict censorship of the media will ease somewhat under the incoming leadership, a journalism professor at Fudan University predicts. The Chinese government will adopt more liberal censorship policies because it has reached a level where it […]
9 December 2012

JMSC Students Go Gangnam Style with Korean Rapper PSY

Five JMSC Bachelor of Journalism students got Gangnam Style with South Korean Rapper PSY last Friday during the Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA), which were held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan […]
4 December 2012

Dec 7: Talk – What Leadership Changes in China mean for Media

Doug Young, a journalism professor at Fudan University, will deliver a talk at the JMSC about the recent leadership changes in China on Friday, December 7, 2012. Seven of the nine members of the Politburo […]
2 December 2012

Journalists in High Demand for Digital and Data Skills

Journalists with skills in digital technology and data analysis are in high demand, and going to become more valuable in the future, according to the Associated Press’s Global Interactive Editor. There is a growing trend in journalism toward […]