Top stories of 2018

Donald Trump was the most frequent subject in Norwegian media, but the Olympics was most popular

top Norwegian news 2018

Photo: NASA Earth Observatory / Wikimedia
This map shows land surface temperatures from July 1-15, 2018, compared to the 2000–2015 average for the same two-week period. The darkest parts of Norway were 14.4°F hotter than average.

Gerard Taylor
Norway Today

Donald Trump featured a total of 53,120 times in Norwegian media during the year. That is over 21,000 more times than the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, and over three times as often as the Soccer World Cup, according to fresh figures from Retriever, owned by NTB and the Swedish news agency TT.

Nevertheless, the coverage of last year’s sporting events was what most Norwegians were most satisfied with, according to the survey, AgendaTracker.

“Seventy-six percent experienced the winter Olympics as well or very well covered. It was also the story that made people the most happy in 2018,” said Marie Langebeck, adviser at PR Operations.

That may not be particularly surprising. The Winter Olympics became a medal party seen through Norwegian eyes, and with 39 medals, Norway became the highest-ever medal-winning country in the Winter Olympics.

Trump, on the other hand, made over 80 percent of us sad or upset, while only 5 percent got a little or very happy reading stories about the world’s most powerful man.

Record heat worried us

The record heat and forest fire hazard last summer was the seventh most talked about story in 2018 but nevertheless became the one that made the second largest impression on Norwegian readers.

“Both Norway and large parts of Europe experienced an extremely hot and dry summer. Temperatures of over 40 degrees in southern Europe led to more deaths, droughts, forest fires, and damaged crops for farmers. Although the summer heat was perhaps welcome for many here in Norway, the figures show that the abnormal temperatures primarily concerned us,” said Retriever analysis manager Guro Lindebjerg.

Syria rebels

A total of 97 percent of respondents said they were saddened by reading about the bloody civil war in Syria, which, according to estimates by various observer groups, has cost between 360,000 and 560,000 lives.

“The civil war that evolved in 2011 is an ongoing tragedy, and there is much to suggest that the complex conflict continues to engage. In addition, the war in Syria has developed into a political power game between the international powers, which gives the conflict a new dimension,” said Lindebjerg.

#MeToo and KrF

Conflicts in Norwegian politics have also gained a lot of space in 2018. The #MeToo campaign, which, among other things, had consequences for Norwegian politicians such as Trond Giske, Kristian Tonning-Riise, and Trine Skei Grande, was mentioned 25,751 times.

The unrest in the Kristelig Folkeparti (KrF) got almost as much mention, but it did not engage us as much as the #MeToo cases, according to the survey.

“Eighty-four percent were sad or upset by the #MeToo disclosures that hit Norwegian politics just over a year ago. Although KrF has also been out in hard weather… there are far more people who are indifferent to the conflict in the split center party. A total of 38 percent responded that they react neutrally to the KrF cases,” Langebeck said.

AgendaTracker maps out which media cases Norwegians have received and how they react to them. The survey is a collaboration between the communications agency PR-operatørene, the media analysis agency Retriever, and the opinion polling institute YouGov.

This article originally appeared in the January 25, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.