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Sweden in Focus: An in-depth look at what makes this place tick

Join us as we take an in-depth look at the big issues facing Sweden.

Sweden in Focus: An in-depth look at what makes this place tick
Photo: lostation/Depositphotos

Ever since The Local was founded in Stockholm back in 2004, before expanding to eight other countries, we have tried to be a window on other cultures. We are convinced that finding the stories that tell us who “we” and “they” are helps break down barriers and brings us closer together.

In a tense world increasingly muddled by fake news and disinformation, we believe this places a special responsibility on The Local.

That's why we're launching our new “Sweden in Focus” series, where we aim to take an in-depth, independent and impartial look at the biggest challenges and opportunities Sweden faces today. We refuse to gloss over problems or paint an alarmist picture, but equally, there are no easy answers.


Don't worry, we're not changing. We've always tried to be a voice of reason, whether it's debunking the six-hour workday or analyzing sexual violence statistics. We're just going to do it even more, even better.

Because there are challenges, such as high unemployment among foreign-born people, a housing shortage, crime and poverty in vulnerable suburbs. The peak of the 2015 refugee crisis is over. But how to integrate all the new arrivals is likely to be a key point of contention in the next election in 2018.

“The subject is very polarized at the moment. On one side there's Donald Trump and Fox News talking about Sweden from afar, and on the other politicians in Sweden saying there's no problem. I try to show that the truth can be found somewhere in the middle,” ex-police officer Mustafa Panshiri, who teaches lone refugee children about adapting to Swedish values, tells our deputy editor Lee Roden in the first instalment of Sweden in Focus, which tackles the thorny topic of integration.

Truth is complex by nature. Sweden is neither a dystopian hell of immigration-fuelled crime, nor a perfect paradise of latte dads, fika breaks, Abba, meatballs and flawless social equality. Neither of these images tell the whole story of what daily life is actually like in this country, yet they are the only two narratives many outside of Sweden will ever read or hear about in much of the international media.

We noticed the thirst for local-global news again in the wake of the deadly attack in Stockholm on April 7th, when English speakers turned to us for the latest news in English, but also to read about how Stockholmers showed that Sweden's trust and openness remained untouched by terror.

And where many other English-language media parachute in and out, The Local Sweden's team live here, speak the language, know the culture and will see all stories through to the end. So when the refugee crisis settles, when “last night in Sweden” stops getting clicks and when the hype of “lagom” is replaced by the next Nordic buzzword, we'll keep reporting on Sweden's opportunities and challenges.

Meanwhile, we will also make sure that our coverage keeps reflecting the daily lives of most of Sweden's residents, whether it's an explainer about the country's weirdest traditions, the latest news from the startup scene, how to boost education, or simply Swedes finding the time to debate the most bizarre stories.

Because the vision on which The Local was founded in 2004 still holds true today: daily news is the glue of society. It breaks down barriers and brings us closer together. Thank you for joining us on that journey.

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The Local’s Confronting Coronavirus series nominated for major European media award

A series of solutions-focused articles in which The Local’s journalists took an in-depth look at responses to the coronavirus pandemic has been shortlisted for the European Digital Media Awards 2021.

The Local's Confronting Coronavirus series nominated for major European media award
People register to get vaccinated against Covid-19 at a pop-up vaccination station in Berlin on July 16th, 2021. Photo: Stefanie Loos/AFP

The Local’s Confronting Coronavirus series is competing in the European Digital Media Awards’s Best Project for News Literacy category, against AFP’s fact check training videos and The Guardian Foundation: Education Centre and NewsWise.

The category recognises “projects aimed at enhancing news literacy skills, promote critical thinking and further the smart consumption of news”.

The winner is set to be announced by WAN-IFRA – World Association of News Publishers – on July 22nd.

The Local’s nine European news sites have together published nearly 8,000 articles about the pandemic to date. In our Confronting Coronavirus series, our journalists took an in-depth look at our countries’ pandemic responses through a Solutions Journalism lens.

Solutions Journalism is evidence-based journalism that moves from reporting only on the problem to looking at what possible solutions exist, things people are doing to try to make things better and how these solutions are working – and what’s not working.

The series was supported by a $5,000 grant from the Solutions Journalism Network, a non-profit organisation dedicated to rigorous and compelling reporting about responses to social problems. Thanks to this grant, articles in the series were free for other media outlets to republish under a Creative Commons licence.

The Confronting Coronavirus was published in the summer of 2020. You can read all articles in the series here, as well as a couple of articles published after the grant period ended.

As well as the Solutions Journalism Network, we are grateful for our community of paying members. If you would like to support The Local in our goal to provide essential and responsible English-language reporting from across Europe, find out more here.

Here are all the finalists in the European Digital Media Awards 2021:

Best News Website or Mobile Service

Best Paid Content Strategy

Best in Audience Engagement

Best Project for News Literacy

Best Digital Marketing Campaign for a News Brand

Best Use of Online Video

Best Data Visualisation

Best Special Project for Covid-19

Best Digital Audio Project