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Published 2023-04-23

Aftenposten wins the SKUP Prize and VG is awarded diploma

“Our journalists operate at a world-class level and the entire Schibsted group should be proud ,” says Editor-in-Chief Trine Eilertsen after Aftenposten won the SKUP Prize for the second year in a row.

Photo: Ketil Blom Haugstulen, SKUP

The SKUP Prize is the most prestigious award Norwegian journalists can receive for investigative and critical journalism. The award is presented at the annual SKUP conference organized by the Foundation for a Critical and Investigative Press (SKUP) in Tønsberg.

After those closest to winning the main prize had received their SKUP diplomas, it was announced just before midnight on Saturday that the article series “The Children Norway Fails” by Aftenposten/A-magasinet was found to be the best among the 52 submitted entries.

“I am completely overwhelmed,” says Editor-in-Chief Trine Eilertsen a few minutes after the second SKUP Prize in two years is a fact.

“Impossible to ignore”

But after collecting herself a bit, she points out that “The Children Norway Fails” is composed of two things that she believes were decisive for the result.

“Firstly, it’s a heart-wrenching theme, namely Norway’s inability to help some of our most vulnerable young people. Secondly, the team has developed a method that has  produced insights no one else has. Not even the authorities. This insight is impossible to ignore,” says Eilertsen, who adds that the team has also been invited to the health authorities to talk about the work they’ve done and the method they’ve developed.

She believes the prize is a manifestation of something the editorial team has worked on systematically for several years: to embark on difficult and important projects without being stopped by a lack of transparency and data, and make a difference.

“As I expressed before we got the prize: Prize or not, we have won anyway. Aftenposten has the courage, competence, collaboration, and culture needed to do fantastic things. The prize is an enormous encouragement on the road to becoming even better. We have journalists who operate at a world-class level and  the entire Schibsted group should be proud of it.”

A long and heavy project

The team consisted of journalists Annemarte Moland and Ingunn Røren, developers Fredrik Thoresen and Jørgen Arnor G. Lom, and researcher and journalist Trond J. Strøm.

In its reasoning, the jury emphasized that the method work is impressive. “Combined with perseverance and traditional journalistic tools, this year’s winner has built up and compiled databases in a groundbreaking way. They have also opened new doors in the use of freedom of information legislation. It has been driven journalism that has drawn inspiration from both research and investigation.”

“A long and heavy project with many vulnerable sources in crisis and families in crisis. There was no overview and a struggle for transparency in constant resistance, clearly it tastes good,” said Annemarte Moland to Medier24 after receiving the award.

The IR Award to Kyrre Lien

But before the team from Aftenposten could celebrate, Schibsted colleagues Ronny Berg, Ola Haram, and Mona Grivi Norman from VG were also on stage in Tønsberg to receive a SKUP diploma for “The Chief of PST’s Weapons“.

In their justification, the jury points out that the journalists “through impressive and varied use of methods overcome […] obstacles in a large case complex”. The jury also states that they are particularly impressed by the perseverance of the journalists. “Through their work, they expose both camaraderie and a coordinated reluctance to openness in large parts of the Norwegian justice sector,” the jury’s justification says.

NRK and Klassekampen also received diplomas for “Harassment and Abuse in the Armed Forces” and “The cost for Free Shipping,” respectively.

Thus, two out of four awards at SKUP 2023 went to media houses in Schibsted News Media. In addition, journalist and photographer Kyrre Lien was awarded the IR Award for VG’s report “Summer in Butsja“. The award is given by the organization International Reporter (IR) for “a journalistic product that has shed light on an international theme in an insightful, surprising, and engaging way.”

“A punch in the gut”

“The SKUP Award is the most coveted award in the Norwegian media industry, and editorial teams across the country are eager to win it every year. That’s why it’s so incredibly strong of Aftenposten to win the award two years in a row. And we mustn’t forget that VG once again asserts itself – since 2016, they have won either diplomas or the main prize every year. It testifies to editorial teams that take their societal mission very seriously and continuously deliver quality journalism that strengthens democracy,” says Siv Juvik Tveitnes, Executive Vice President of Schibsted’s news media.

She herself has been deeply moved by reading about “The Children Norway Fails”.

“Not only do several of the stories in this article series sit like a punch in the gut individually, but the totality of what Aftenposten has revealed is very disturbing. I am mightily impressed by the team at Aftenposten who, despite much resistance, have never given up, and it will have a direct impact on how the weakest in our society, the children, and their loved ones will be treated in the future. I am so proud on behalf of Aftenposten and Schibsted,” says Tveitnes.