From Iceland — Upcoming Stundin Gathers Pace —DV Shakes Off Top Journalists

Upcoming Stundin Gathers Pace —DV Shakes Off Top Journalists

Published January 8, 2015

On Tuesday, a group of journalists, some of whom are former member of DV’s editorial team, and other professionals, announced the establishment of a news medium, to be called Stundin. According to current plans, Stundin will be a web medium, with a print edition published monthly.

To finance the medium the team started a crowdfunding campaign through Karolina Fund. As of Thursday noon, the funding had already surpassed its 30 day goal of €30,000. This is, reportedly, the fastest any project has collected funds through Karolina Fund.

Public interest

Stundin’s announcement notes that “interested parties can get their hands on media companies and shape media according to their private interests instead of public interests.” The group promises a medium that will, on the contrary, be influenced by public interests, and provide space for investigative journalism.

The team includes Jón Trausti Reynisson, DV’s former manager, Ingibjörg Dögg Kjartansdóttir, the paper’s former assistant editor-in-chief, designer Jón Ingi Stefánsson and marketing manager Heiða B. Heiðars, as well as former chief editor Reynir Traustason.

Over and out

In related news, after the new owners/publishers of DV replaced the paper’s editors, installing Eggert Skúlason as one of the papers two joint editors-in-chief, some freelance journalists have been dismissed and staff journalists quit.

Hatred of free media

Jóhann Páll Jóhannsson, one of the two journalists who led the reporting on the Interior Ministry leak throughout last year, resigned on Sunday. In his written statement released that same day, he states that the take-over of DV is the ugliest showcase of the “hatred” that wealthy forces in Iceland harbour towards free media. He calls the new owners corrupt and says that they have “sabotaged” the medium.

A poodle that doesn’t bark

On Monday, Atli Þór Fanndal, a freelance journalist, and one of the two authors of a recent report on the notion of fascism in relation to Icelandic politics and society, released a statement about his dismissal from the paper. He said that the new owners, headed by Björn Ingi Hrafnsson, intend to change DV into “a poodle that doesn’t bark”. He says that he was told on Sunday that his services would not be further requested at the paper, but that he had by then decided to leave it anyway. He further explains how Björn Ingi had, within 24 hours of acquiring a controlling share of the paper’s stocks, started complaining about Atli Þór’s publicly stated concerns about the secrecy surrounding the acquisition process.

Breach of trust

On Tuesday, Jón Bjarki Magnússon, the other journalist who, along with Jóhann Páll, mentioned above, led the reporting of the Interior Ministry leak, and co-author of last week’s article on the notion of fascism, resigned. He also followed his resignation with a written statement. He notes there are several reasons for this, but cites specifically a breach of trust on behalf of Björn Ingi Hrafnsson. Jón Bjarki does not further explain the content of that breach, but says that Björn Ingi claimed, among witnesses, that Jón Bjarki would not, eventually, benefit from any public discussion about to it.

At the start of 2014, Jóhann Páll and Jón Bjarki were awarded as journalists of the year by the Icelandic Journalists’ Association, for their coverage of the situation of asylum seekers in Iceland, including their first coverage of the Interior Ministry leak.

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