Ten weeks later – a blog post by Tekniksprångarna
How did we end up here? A question posed to us by many – co-workers, family, friends and at times even ourselves. Since early September, we’ve been wandering around SVTi doing a bit of everything, and as we will soon be moving on to Production & Technology, it is time for a blog post about our time at SVTi. We, the authors, are Emma-Karin Rehnman and Vanja Selander – also known by our pseudonym “Tekniksprångarna”.
The answer to how we came to SVT lies within a project arranged by IVA, the royal science academy, called “Tekniksprånget”. Anyone under the age of 21 with a high school degree in natural sciences or technology can apply to any of the companies involved, and each company will employ those they see fit. Those who are accepted into the program will undertake a four-month long engineering internship, with the goal of raising an interest in pursuing a degree in technology. Since both of us have a long standing relation with SVT (like most swedes) and an interest in media we applied for a position at SVT. We were therefore delighted when we got the call (in the middle of Switzerland vs Sweden one might add) saying that we were chosen.
Once here, we started our internship by spending two weeks with the Duo-team. During our time with the team they mainly developed a play-along-game for Duellen, a game show that aired during the fall. For us this meant re-watching the same episodes over and over, testing for bugs and giving opinions on graphics and syncing issues. However, our main assignment during these two weeks was to gain experience as project managers by developing a concept for an app including interactivity. Throughout the process we received great support from the team and gained key insights on everything from frontend programming to UX design. By the end of our second week we presented our work at SVTi’s demo. Emma-Karin demonstrated an interactive toolbox which could be applied to a multitude of programs and Vanja talked about an interactive community largely based on short format videos.
The next two weeks were spent at SVT Play, the streaming service we all know and love. Mainly, we sat with a smaller team-within-the-team developing the actual video player. We ran tests on a new player, and proudly watched it be launched into production (on one of SVT’s smallest sites, but still). While working with the video player team we also took time to visit other Play-teams, performing user tests and analysing them, experimenting with SmartTV and, when we had time to spare, attempted some programming. Emma-Karin learned the basics of Python and Git, while Vanja built rabbits and snowmen in JS. We also had time to visit the costume and props storage facility, which blew our little minds quite a bit… We proposed a huge SVT Halloween party where everyone would get two hours in the costume storage to find a costume, but no one took the bait. Maybe next year?
After a month of fairly sheltered work, we were released into the wild… Or more accurately, we moved to another building, out of sight from our old friends in Duo and Play. For three weeks we were to work with the News and Sports team, where the pace was turned up a notch. Our main assignment, apart from attending meetings and jumping on any activities we could find (as we did everywhere, we are both naturally curious people), was right in our area of expertise – how do we make SVT’s sites more attractive to young people? While arranging user interviews, analysing and designing, we also had time to work with Quickshot (the data journalism team), researching for an article about moose, and to visit the news desk. (Emma-Karin can be seen in the background of a news report, eating a cinnamon bun – whoops…) Before leaving the News and Sports team we presented our work to the department, who seemed to enjoy the feedback and hopefully will be able to reach young adults to a greater extent.
Last but not least, our “tour de SVTi” ends with three weeks at the Kids department. During the first week we worked together with the Mixat-team with their chatbot. Our assignment was to create Halloween-bots – one bot a day for six days, working in a bot-building-tool without the possibility for loops… For every choice the user makes, the rest of the story needs to be copied into a tree-like structure. Therefore, Emma-Karin ended up putting 12 hours into building a text-based adventure game involving a werewolf and a broken staircase, with the bot-building-tool breaking three times due to the bot being too large. An infuriating but fun experience! From Mixat we moved to the kids streaming service Barnplay, where this blogpost is being written. Currently we have 1,5 weeks left at Kids – who knows what could happen in that time?
So, what have we learned during our time at SVTi (apart from that the Duo-team have the messiest Trello-board, but the best fika)? First of all, it has been an insightful experience learning about agile work, something neither of us have experienced before but now believe should be implemented in schools. The short sprints, combined with instant feedback and clear goal orientation, proves to be a successful concept. We now have a greater understanding of the challenges that SVT faces – how does SVT remain unbiased, accessible and non-clickbaity, while still staying relevant?
It is with mixed feelings of excitement, gratitude, sorrow and fear we move towards the next stop on our journey – Production & Technology. Excitement because of obvious reasons (how cool is it not to work with TV productions?), gratitude to all the amazing people we’ve come across during our time at SVTi, sorrow because we have to leave you all behind (for now) and fear because come the end of December, we’ll be on our own in the cold, non-public-service world… Anybody have a job?
/Emma-Karin & Vanja