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Goodbye, Norwegian America

27. mars 2019

Ellis Island with Statue of Liberty
Ellis Island with Statue of Liberty

Originally published in Fædrelandsvænnen, 27.3.2019. Jan Brøgger (Twitter: @janbrogger) is head of the Årstad Conservative Party.

The Americans are drifting away from Europe. Norwegian America is an insurance we cannot afford to lose. The last Norwegian-American newspaper, The Norwegian American, is threatened with closure. The newspaper can be saved with the help of Norwegian business and Norwegian digital newspaper experience.

Fracture lines are appearing in the Anglosphere, to which we have attached ourselves so closely. President Trump has an ingrained contempt for Europe and alliances. He is itching to get the USA out of NATO. The British are drifting off into the Atlantic mist with their Brexit. In Norway, we perch on the edge of Europe, outside the EU, vulnerable with an open economy. Foreign bonds are now more valuable than ever.

Norwegian-American relations have many threads. But the Norwegian-Americans have given us popular support that cold military and political relations cannot replace. There are as many Norwegian-Americans as there are Norwegians. The Norwegian-Americans tourist stream is big. Every one of them  is a vaccine against great-power brutality. The Norwegian community in Minnesota and Seattle is large and active. Lefse and lutefisk, however, are no substitute for a living press.

The last remaining Norwegian-American newspaper is The Norwegian American. It has a long history, and is a result of a merger by the East Coast based Nordisk Tidende and West Coast based Western Viking. It is driven by love for Norway, not for American profit. America is technologically somewhat behind Norway. While Norwegian newspapers are in the forefront of digitization, small American newspapers have not managed the digital transition.

The ethnic press is still vibrant in the United States. The Swedish-American newspaper Nordstjernan is buzzing along, with tens of thousands of subscribers. Little Norway can’t catch up. We are at the level of the Finnish, Estonian and Latvian press in the United States. Official Norway can only provide support in the form of good will. Norway's ambassador to the United States, Kåre R. Aas, regularly sends greetings to the newspaper's readers at Christmas and May 17th. But these greetings may soon end. We must have critical mass, and the Norwegian business community must provide. We must find a Norwegian newspaper editor who can sit on the newspaper's board via netmeetings, and perhaps a nice Seattle visit once a year.

There is significant interest in the Nordic model in the US. An open economy has made Norway rich - why can't the United States do the same? The Americans want to wall themselves in self-harm, but we can show them. We should be happy that Norwegian-Americans have found their place in the USA, but Americans are still fond of their roots. Good feelings for the Nordic countries are worth their weight gold and only need some maintenance. The Norwegian-American press can be a good insurance. In a crisis situation, it is too late to establish legitimacy and readers, even if one has the Oil Fund to help.

I'm just a politician-writer without much money, but with a heart for business and international relations. The rescue package is simple - a new Norwegian Board and some pocket change in capital. A trade war and worse is far more expensive. Join us and save the last remaining Norwegian-American newspaper!



Jan Brøgger, email jan@brogger.no mobile +47 92867303

Ragnar Knutsen, owner representative, email knutsen@sealiftinc.com mobil +1 516 305 7950

Emily Skaftun, editor The Norwegian American, email emily@na-weekly.com phone +1 206 784 4617

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