Bridging Investigative Journalism (BRIJ) is a mobility program between the American University’s School of Communication, the Centre for Investigative Journalism at the University of Bergen, and the Nordic Press Center in Washington.
The partners, with the support from the Norwegian Directorate for Higher Education and Skills, provide the BRIJ Fellowship that enables the reciprocal exchange of students for three weeks to the partner’s country.
From technological and economic transformations to the social media causing the amateurisation of communication, journalism worldwide have been facing major disruptions. The recent years’ events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing recession, have accelerated deterioration of the already undermined health of journalism. For years, layoffs and cutbacks have been affecting thousands of editorial offices worldwide, creating a notable extinction-level threat for local newspapers.
Since before the start of pandemic, over 360 local newspapers in the United States ceased publication. Starting with 2005, the country has lost more than one-fourth of its newspapers, leaving a blind spot in many communities, and undermining the states of democracy. This stands in sharp contrast to Norway, which despite challenges, remains a country with one of world’s largest number of newspapers in relation to population. The Nordic knowledge of the local news sustainability, and robustness of local-newspaper industry is of a huge value and can be crucial in helping to surmount the Local News Deserts in the United States.
BRIJ seeks to enhance the quality of journalism programs offered at both universities by delivering complementary content and sharing expertise. The University of Bergen and the Centre for Investigative Journalism contribute knowledge in the Nordic media system, Scandinavian politics, the governments’ relationship with media, and the local perspective in investigative journalism. The American University in turn contributes knowledge on international investigative journalism and foreign news.
A group of five students from each university will travel for three weeks to the partner’s country. During their stay, students will be partaking in lectures, seminars and meetings with professors, journalists, local newspapers, media tech companies, and other relevant organizations. The intention is for the exchange program’ participants to benefit both from the academic and practice-based learning.
The fellowship covers all travel and accommodation expenses for the students during the three week’s visit.