Politiken offices, Copenhagen.
I’m in Copenhagen this week for a school trip. Our teacher, Asbjorn was so kind as to set us up with a bunch of appointments with organizations including Berlingske Media, the European Environmental Agency and the Danish Defence Force.
Myself and many of my classmates were then so kind as to nearly miss all of those appointments.
Copenhagen really is a biking city, possibly because there’s no way in hell you can rely on the buses to get you there on time.
Through sheer will power and a lot of running ( some of us in heels mind you) we managed to make most of our appointments. We were exceptionally late to meet with the subtly named tourism agency “Wonderful Copenhagen” after somehow getting lost insidethe fire exit and unfortunately we were 6 minutes late to Berlingske and had to miss out because of security measures.
This kind of outrageous bureaucracy pissed off my German friend Leonie to no end, and we ended up stomping over to rival media agency Politiken like we were about to tear down the Berlin Wall.
Once inside we calmed down a little and asked the young man at reception if we could please be shown the offices.
“No,” was the rather blunt reply.
Politiken shares their offices with Jyllands- Posten, who are best known for publishing cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed and pissing off a whole lot of extremist Muslims.
Understandably there are a few security issues involved, but seriously how much harm could be done by two 21 year olds who are so hopeless they actually got lost insidea fire exit?
A little more pressure was applied to the young man doing absolutely nothing to improve the reputation of receptionists worldwide and we had a number.
Somewhere upstairs, an unsuspecting 49 year old, tattooed, Great Dane was walking around the Politiken office when a phone rang. He answered it. Big mistake.
That Dane was Claus. He was working as an education reporter, then on the culture section and now is a project manager. He was to be our tour guide for the day and our drinking buddy for the night.
In a patient and slightly bemused manner he showed us around the offices of Politiken and Ekstra Bladet, answering every stupid question we had.
“Are newspapers dying? How many people have been fired? Why do you have so much art?” and so on.
For the record, there hasn’t been a “firing round” for 5-7 years. Politiken is developing a paid format for online, like you can read up to ten articles for free and then you have to pay, and they know people will continue to read them because they have such a strong brand.
Personally, Claus believes people will pay if something is convenient, like ITunes. If you have to
enter your credit card details every time, customers will move on.
In terms of working as a journalist, he doesn’t think Denmark has laws to protect journalist and whistle blowers, but says every editor in Denmark would be willing to go to jail for a source.
He says Politiken has complete editorial independence and make most of their money on selling papers, not advertisements.
And- the most interesting point of all is that Journalism students in Denmark HAVE to do interning for a year and a half as part of their degree. And it’s paid.
2000 euro a month, a meagre sum according to Claus, a fortune according to Leonie and I. Being paid for journalism? What a novel concept.