UBC Journalism student Jimmy Thomson arrived for his first class in 2012 straight off a ship from Greenland, bags still in hand. This summer he will be packing his bags and heading out on a new adventure in a remote place that, for him, has become familiar.
Thomson, one of only two recipients of this year’s prestigious Norwegian High North Journalism Award, will be heading north to Kirkenes, on the northern tip of Norway, where he’ll participate in a five-week internship at an English-language online media site, the Barents Observer.
“I’m familiar with the Arctic – I’ve been to the Arctic in five countries over the last four years – but I’ve never been able to stick around and do much reporting. So this was a chance to spend some real time there and immerse myself in some Arctic stories,” said Thomson, who has an undergraduate degree in biology and a deep commitment to reporting on the Arctic. “The Barents Observer specializes in natural resources, policy, and environmental issues in the north, so it was a natural fit for my interests.”
During his stay, Thomson and Ryerson University’s Emma Jarratt will work alongside the reporting team at the Barents Observer, covering Arctic issues as diverse as energy, security, climate, international relations, economic and social development. He will also have the opportunity to visit the Barents Observer’s branch office in Murmansk, Russia, and travel and report from the region as a whole.
“This internship is an excellent opportunity for me to supplement my knowledge of the Arctic with some on-the-ground reporting in a country facing many of the same issues as we face in Canada,” said Thomson. “I hope that I’ll come out of the internship with some contacts in northern resource and policy spheres. It’s a fairly small world up there, with growing importance, so it’s a good time to get in there and do some work.”
The Norwegian High North Journalism Award, established by the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ottawa in 2010, aims to support journalistic research on arctic issues, with the goal of educating, inspiring, and raising awareness to the importance of the Arctic region.