Written by: Linda Lumikero & Suvi Tiihonen
As a child, Mari Karppinen dreamed about one day being a journalist so that she could share with the world the struggles of everyday people living all over the world. During her first trip as a video journalist, which was to Ethiopia, she began filming the stories of the people she met and the places she had seen. She fell in love with the camera’s ability to connect her audience to the lives of people worlds away.
Karppinen studied Journalism and Mass Communication in Tampere and was first employed by the Pohjolan Sanomat, a daily newspaper in Kemi, she then worked on Ajankohtainen kakkonen, a weekly TV program at Yleisradio. In 2009, she was hired by the Finnish TV channel MTV3 in Helsinki as a reporter and video journalist. Currently she is working as a foreign correspondent for the channel in New York.
Why did you come to New York?
In August of 2014, I moved to New York City for work. I had actually never been here before. Washington D.C. is generally where the correspondents have been posted in the past, but I suggested New York instead because of its wide array of events and news. Washington D.C. is only a few hours away from New York by car, so it is easily accessible when important political issues need to be covered.
What is the best part about living in New York?
The fact that it’s New York—there is a different type of energy in this city, a sense of hope, ambition, diversity that can’t be experienced anywhere else.
What are some of the biggest differences between living in New York and living in Finland?
The size of the city, of course. Everyday people have a different state of mind here. The atmosphere is unique—there is solidarity between the people here. They remain hopeful and optimistic despite the many obstacles of life. Having said that, New York can be a cold and tough place to be as well—the competition is harsh.
New York City already feels like home after living here for six months. In the end it’s all about the friends you surround yourself with—they make it home.
Name a news story you covered in New York that was the biggest or most meaningful to you.
Most emotional one was a story about the homeless in New York. I interviewed a woman who had lost everything during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Hearing about these personal tragedies, motivates me because even in the roughest ones one can still find hope. It is amazing and incredibly inspiring that despite all of the hardships and pain in this world, people continue to survive and strive.
Share your best tips for the city as a New Yorker.
I loved Fuerza Bruta, which is a postmodern Off-Broadway theatre show running downtown at the Daryl Roth Theatre. The show uses strobe lights, loud noises, water, mist and fog. It’s magnificent. I also enjoy spooky house venues.
The best way to experience New York is by walking around, I would especially recommend walking from Soho in Manhattan all the way to Flatbush in Brooklyn. There’s a lot of interesting areas in between.
Different boroughs are worth exploring—you’ll observe different lifestyles and get to know different cultures. In Brooklyn Heights you can enjoy the view of the Manhattan skyline. Also, there is a different view towards street art like graffiti here—Bushwick, East Brooklyn and Queens have plenty of it.
There are also small concerts almost every night in the city. You could walk in to a random bar and enjoy live jazz. It truly is the city that never sleeps, it would be a shame not to take advantage of it.