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  • Hilde Huus

Nordic-Canadian Fellowship in Environmental Journalism

Cover photo from “Dispatches: Stories of hope, resilience and change”

Laura McLeod, Director of Cultural Engagement at Harbourfront Centre, joined us from Toronto via Zoom to fill us in on Nordic Bridges, now that the year was over. We were particularly interested in hearing about the environmental journalism initiative. When the Nordic embassies promote culture, it is not only for the sake of creating opportunities for their artists but also to promote Nordic values, including combatting climate change.

She was able to tell us that that they had successfully completed an impressive amount of Nordic artist programming. The postponement from 2020 until 2022 due to the pandemic meant that more time and resources were available to fulfil their mandate, and over that period, youth became a pillar of the program. Laura feels that the Nordic countries are better than Canada at trusting youth to carry out important projects and at giving them leadership opportunities. Nordic Bridges wanted to create a program that would put resources and money into the hands of those who, in the end, would effect change. With this in mind, they went looking for 16 aspiring journalists between the ages of 18 and 25, 8 from Canada and 8 from the Nordic countries. They were to team up in pairs, with each pair representing Canada and a Nordic country, and they would report on environmental issues affecting both.

Canada and the Nordic countries both have diverse and expansive landscapes, including land above the Arctic Circle. They have all showed a commitment to tackling climate change. The degradation of the environment is an urgent challenge faced by youth everywhere.

The hope was that this project, in addition to nurturing young talent, might lead to change.

Each successful candidate received an honorarium of $2,000 and $3,500 to pay for a reporting trip. Laura noted that this was an exceptional opportunity for young journalists in this day and age. Money for reporting trips is seldom available now in the mainstream media.

“Bootcamps” were provided to the successful applicants, first in Tromsø in northern Norway and then at Oslo Metropolitan University. Then the young journalists teamed up to work on their projects. Rewarding experiences and firm friendships resulted and the articles the pairs co-wrote were published in a document called “Dispatches Stories of hope, resilience and change from the Nordic-Canadian Fellows in environmental journalism.” Have a look to see what these amazing young journalists accomplished!

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