Kristine Lowe’s (left) Online Journalism Scandinavia this week looks at a groundbreaking multimedia project run by VG newspaper that led to awards recognition.
Journalists from Norway’s VG online were last week awarded an investigative prize for developing the newspaper’s biggest ever multimedia project.
VG journalists Anne Stine Saether and Anders Sooth Knutsen were presented with the Skup-diploma for investigative journalism for their online project on domestic killings.
“In contrast to other countries, we did not know how many women were killed by their husbands, partners and boyfriends in Norway,” said the jury who awarded the prize.
“VG’s project required extensive research, meticulous accuracy and careful ethical considerations. Wounds had to be ripped open, next of kin contacted and identification approved for 72 murders committed over a period of seven years.”
On 12 November 2007, the print edition of VG dedicated its front page (above) to portraits of women killed by their men.
The story was planned and executed across all platforms simultaneously, the paper’s front page splash was accompanied by a dedicated website with articles, blogs, chats and a series of video interviews with some of the murderers, next of kin, psychologists and academics on VGTV.
“The idea for the project came as a result of my own anger and feeling of impotence half a year ago. Yet another woman had been murdered and the story was buried far back in the newspaper, I thought, dammit, this happens all the time, which lead to the idea to spray the front page with the faces of women who’d suffered such a fate,” said Kjersti Sortland, the managing editor of the award-winning journalists.
She explained that it was a very simple journalistic idea, but it required massive research. VG started with anonymous homicide statistics and large blank Excel sheets, and used all the archives and registers they could access to produce the multi-media project.
It eventually took half-a-year to complete to project. But it was worth it, VG’s coverage of the issue was groundbreaking and eventually led to a change in how murders are reported in Norway.
The government has pledged to map domestic murders, and from 2007 on, Norwegian police began registering the relationship between the murderer and the victim when reporting crimes of this nature.