Salla Nazarenko has been appointed as the UJF’s International Affairs Specialist at the Journalists’ Union. She will take up the post at the end of August. Juha Rekola, who has held the post until now, will retire during the autumn.

Salla will be responsible for international work and union members’ international services. Her work will also include monitoring communication policy, professional ethics and journalists’ safety.

Salla has a long professional experience in the field of media communications and journalism, development and research. She is currently working for the communications unit of the headquarters of the Finnish Border Guard dealing with a communications development project.

She describes her career so far as rooted in freedom of expression. “Freedom of expression is the umbrella for everything I have done. Promoting openness in society is close to my heart.”

Salla has gained particular experience in the former Soviet area.

“I have worked in media and journalism development in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Georgia, where I led a networking project for journalists across the front lines. In Kyrgyzstan, I founded a local journalists’ organisation.”

She is also familiar with Russia, having worked for the Karelian newspaper and studied for one year in Moscow.

The world’s sweetest job

Back in Finland, Salla has worked as a news, sports and foreign affairs journalist. She has also worked as a freelance journalist, and  has been the executive director of the Finnish Foundation for Media and Development (Vikes) and Physicians for Social Responsibility.

She will defend her doctoral dissertation in August at the University of Tampere, in the PhD programme in Communication, Media and Theatre. Her research topic is patriotism in Russian and Georgian TV journalism.

So, what drew her to the UJF and its international work?

“I have always taken opportunities and heeded my own enthusiasm. After all, being an international affairs specialist is the sweetest job in the world. It combines a lot of what I do, but it also provides a chance to learn something new.

“In this new job, I will keep up with the changing world and get to uphold a great profession. If there’s one thing in life you have to do to make something bigger than yourself, this is it.”