Norwegian street papers gather to face challenges together

Norwegian members of INSP have gathered to share thoughts on where street papers are heading, what their future challenges are, and how they need to adapt to stay relevant.

Representatives from =Oslo, Megafon, Sorgenfri, Asfalt and KLAR met in Bergen at the end of August for a three-day conference.

Facing challenges together at the INSP Norway gathering. Photo: Lars Aarønæs/=Oslo

Since 2008, the Norwegian street papers have held their own annual meeting, in addition to attending the INSP Global Street Paper Summit. It allows them to address issues of particular national relevance.

“Norwegian vendors tend to differ from international vendors in that most have housing and social benefits that covers more than their basic needs, but most also struggle with drug addiction,” said Megafon managing editor Petter Lønningen.

An outing at the Norwegian INSP gathering 2016. Photo: Lars Aarønæs/=Oslo

“That’s why we decided to arrange our own convention, so that we could share and learn from each other, in addition to the great help we get from INSP.”

In the past, the meetings have resulted in various collaborative projects from cashless payments to editorial cooperation.

This year, they heard from a wide variety of speakers. Arild Mithun gave a lecture on Naltrexone, a new drug could possibly eliminate opiate addiction.

Delegates at the 2016 Norwegian INSP gathering. Photo: Lars Aarønæs/=Oslo

Elizabeth Franzen from Norwegian Housing First presented a comparative assessment of how different housing strategies have succeeded (and failed) in housing the homeless in Norway, and representatives from Project Aurora spoke about the challenges they meet when they try to rehabilitate women who have served prison sentences.

Elsewhere, delegates deliberated the state of Norwegian drug and poverty policies.

Petter added that, being close to home, the conference allows a wide range of delegates to attend from each paper. “Employees from all levels in any given street paper can meet other colleagues and learn from each other,” he said.