Sámi journalist named one of BBC’s ‘100 women of 2019’

Sara Wesslin is one of only two journalists anywhere in the world writing and broadcasting in the Skolt Sámi language.

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File picture of Skolt Sámi journalist Sara Bresslin / Credit: Päivi Mäkelä

A Sámi journalist – one of only two who writes and broadcasts in the Skolt Sámi language – has been named as one of the BBC’s ‘100 women of 2019’.

The annual list from the British Broadcasting Corporation brings together one hundred “inspiring and influential women from around the world” and this year specifically looked at what the future might look like if it were driven by women.

Journalist Sara Wesslin who works for public broadcaster Yle’s Sápmi channel is the only Finn named to the list, and is chosen for her work to promote Skolt Sámi, and secure funding for Sámi language training.

“I just have to say that I am speechless about this! It obviously means the world to me. When you think about the world nowadays when endangered languages are dying all the time and disappearing, it’s a kind of privilege that I can do my work in Skolt Sámi which is spoken by around 300 people” explains Wesslin.

“I didn’t think I could ever do anything like this and it means a lot for language revitalization as well” she adds.

Wesslin started working at the Inari newsroom in 2013, and as a multimedia journalist has to write stories, present radio bulletins and read the news.

She says her audience, many of whom are elderly, really appreciate the opportunity to learn about current events in their own language – even if some of the words she uses are considered too modern for them!

“When we started to do for example TV news in Skolt Sámi it was very good for people, and for the older Skolt Sámi who don’t use that much the internet, mainly using television and radio it’s a very big thing for the audience as well that they can use their mother tongue” she tells News Now Finland.

Wesslin is one of only two journalists anywhere in the world who do their work in the Skolt Sámi language.

Among the other Nordic women named on the BBC’s ‘100 women of 2019’ list are Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg; Icelandic transgender activist Owl Fisher; and award-winning Swedish filmmaker Erika Lust.