One small Norwegian newspaper is using public journalism to give meaning to engagement

Roar Vigeland Osmundsen, editor-in-chief of Søgne og Songdalens Budstikke, told the World Editors Forum that when immigration hit Norway’s small villages, their online readership didn’t grow with the population. Together with three editors from other local newspapers, he set up a three-year project, dedicating long-term coverage to one specific subject in each village, to increase engagement from their communities. Adopting a public journalism approach — which Osmundsen describes as looking for answers and solutions rather than just reporting problems — they reached their communities more than ever before. Osmundsen said, “We want more people to vote. We want people to see that they can be part of a solution. We want new voices to be heard.”