News man and communications professional
From 2010 to 2017, I covered the daily happenings in Denmark as editor of The Copenhagen Post and The Local Denmark (I also expanded to Norway when I took over The Local's Norwegian edition in late 2015). During that time, I wrote hundreds of news articles, often putting out as many as seven stories per day. Below is a small sampling of articles that stuck out from the pack, whether it was a topic that is particularly dear to my heart, an article that garnered significant international interest or merely a story that for me captures that particular time in Scandinavian society. For stories that go beyond the headlines, be sure to check out my feature articles, and if you are interested in my subjective take on some of these issues, you may want to look at the opinion section.
Midlife crisis looming for Christiania
As Christiania approached its 40th birthday in 2011, a Supreme Court ruling threatened its very existence. Nearly immediately after the court's decision, talk of "normalising" the neighborhood began. The government was given a green light to begin a process that could include tearing down homes throughout Christiania and dramatically altering the spirit of the alternative freetown.
I spoke with Christiania's lawyer, Knud Foldschack, who said that the government had a "moral responsibility" to ensure Christiania's future and honor the rights of the area's 900 residents. READ MORE
Here are reports on the Danish 'terror' attacks Donald Trump says weren't reported
Three Danish incidents were included in a list of Western terror attacks that the White House said were ignored by Western media. All three Danish events were reported extensively by myself and others and one of them was not related to terror. READ MORE
Danes once again discuss who is a Dane
As members of a small and rather homogenous society, Danes spend a lot of time discussing what makes one 'Danish'. It can be an exhausting and off-putting debate for many foreigners, myself included.
In early 2017, hot off the heels of 'Danishness' being declared 2016's word of the year, the wording of a parlimentary declaration sent the debate over just who is, and who isn't, a Dane into overdrive. READ MORE
Concerns mount over mosque's ties to Hamas TV station
When it was reported in passing that Copenhagen's upcoming mosque planned to allow Al-Asqa TV to broadcast from its premises, I knew I had a hot story on my hands. After all, Al-Asqa is the same Hamas-controlled station that in 2008 aired a children's programme featuring a pink bunny that threatened to "bite and eat" Danes for insulting Mohammed.
After the Copenhagen Post reported the connection, the organisation behind the mosque tried to walk back its previous statements, but a police investigation had begun and many politicians were saying that the Al-Asqa story confirmed their worst fears about the mosque's intentions. READ MORE
Copenhagen looking to import cannabis from the US
Ahead of a City Council cannabis conference in 2013, Copenhagen officials were preparing to make another push to legalise the substance. The city is proposing a three-year trial, arguing that “the legal sale of cannabis will result in decreased gang criminality, more prevention and a better life for average cannabis users”.
An intriguing element of the plan calls for the possible import of cannabis from the US states of Colorado and Washington, where voters in November legalised its recreational use. I spoke with the deputy mayor for social affairs, Mikkel Warming, about the city's plans. READ MORE
When I took over the operations of The Local's Norwegian edition in November 2015, it quickly became apparent that one of the most interesting stories coming out of Norway is the controversy surrounding the nation's child welfare service, known as Barnevernet.
The agency has been at the center of a number of controversies over the years for its aggressive approach to child welfare that often results in children being removed from their homes. Many of those cases involve parents who have foreign backgrounds, leading to widespread accusations of discrimination. READ MORE
Danes regain 'world's happiest people' title
After seven years of covering Denmark, I reached the point where it felt like I could churn out a 'Danes are the world's happiest people' article in my sleep. After all, they've been claiming variations of that distinction for decades.
In the UN's World Happines Report 2016, the residents of Denmark regained their top spot after being knocked off their perch by Switzerland the year before. READ MORE
It all started when a Kokkedal housing association’s nine-person board, five of whom are Muslim, voted against having a Christmas tree. They apparently balked at the estimated 7,000 kroner of the tree, but had earlier had no qualms about spending some 60,000 kroner on a party celebrating the Muslim holiday of Eid.
Nearly immediately after news of the decision broke, the story of the axed Christmas tree was taken up by the Danish media and several politicians and commentators suggested it demonstrated an intolerance towards Danish customs held by the minority Muslim population. Before we knew it, Denmark was in the midst of a ‘War on Christmas’. READ MORE
Danes are the hardest people in the world to befriend, according to an international survey ranking the quality of life for expats. As an expat myself, I had plenty of difficulty making friends with Danes but still I was surprised that Denmark ranked dead last in the survey.
I spoke to fellow American Kay Xander Mellish, whose book 'How to Live in Denmark' helps foreigners adjust to life in the small Nordic nation, to get her take on why the Danes are just so hard to befriend. READ MORE
How can Denmark have the world's best climate policy while leaving the world's fourth largest ecological footprint? I spoke to two climate experts to find out. READ MORE
Denmark banned from global ranking lists (spoof)
My 2016 April Fools Day quickly became one of The Local Denmark's most-shared articles.
Although a shocking number of readers apparently didn't get what I thought was a quite obvious joke, this spoof article resonated with readers who have grown accustomed to articles on Denmark's seemingly permanent spot atop ever international list ever. READ MORE
The social media giant's decision to censor Norwegian posts featuring an iconic Vietnam War photo of a naked girl escaping a napalm bombing created a strong backlash that quickly spread beyond Norway.
Thanks in part to the outrage over Facebook's decision to delete a post from Norwegian PM Erna Solberg – in what was believed to be the first such online censorship involving a government leader – Facebook eventually reversed course and changed its policy but not before serious concerns were raised about its role in today's media landscape. READ MORE
PET agent attempted to 'brainwash' British Muslims
PET agent Morten Storm made global headlines after detailing how he infiltrated al-Qaeda’s inner circle and helped the CIA pull of the targeted killing of American-born terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki. But when the Danish convert lived in England, a former friend contends that Storm was an agitator who attempted to radicalise Muslim youth and even sold them drugs.
According to Abu-Eesa Asif, a leader in the Birmingham Muslim community, Storm was an “infiltrator” with “an incorrect understanding” of Islam who attempted to incite young people into becoming radicals. READ MORE
Copyright © 2014 – All work written/designed/produced by Justin Cremer. All Rights Reserved