Heading North....

The Arctic Bureau

The Arctic Bureau

Journalist, Laureli Ivanoff joins the Bureau from Unalakleet, Alaska

Journalist and researcher, Alexandra Middleton joins the Bureau

Podcaster Alice Qannik Glenn joins the Bureau

Freelance environmental journalist Cheryl Katz joins the Bureau

Malte Humpert founder of the Arctic Institute joins the Bureau

Topics our journalists cover
Environment

The Arctic is warming at twice the global annual average. Snow and ice are melting at an alarming rate which affects both local ecosystems as well as the global climate system.

Energy

The Arctic contains about a quarter of the world's undiscovered oil and gas reserves as well as vast mineral reserves. As the ice continues to melt, these untapped reserves will become more accessible.

Geopolitics

The presence of undiscovered oil and gas, as well as new and emerging shipping routes, has led to an increase in tensions between the Arctic states as well attracted the interest of non-Arctic nations like China.

Trade

The melting ice cap is enabling more cargo ships to transverse the Northwest Passage and North Sea Route, slashing the time it takes to transport cargo between China and Europe

Travel

The Arctic region, with its unique set of cultures, landscapes and wildlife is the perfect destination for any traveller.

People

The Arctic region is home to around 4 million people and dozens of distinct Indigenous groups.

The Arctic Bureau's Directory
The Arctic Bureau's Directory

The idea behind the Bureau’s directory is to bring together all freelance journalists, photographers, podcasters and documentary film-makers interested in Arctic issues. The majority of individuals in the directory will be based in, or around, the Arctic and Subarctic regions.

If you are a commissioning editor, looking for a story from the Arctic, then the directory is a great way to find a local, or specialised journalist.

The health of the Arctic plays a critical role in the rest of the world’s well-being. This is why we encourage individuals from all over the globe to join our directory as long as they feel they can contribute to the conversation, for example, you could be based in India writing about the migration patterns of Arctic birds, or a Chinese journalist focusing on the country’s trade ambitions in the Arctic.

At the Arctic Bureau, we also want to promote a more environmentally conscious way of reporting from the region. We hope that by providing a directory of journalists, we can encourage editors to use local talent as much as possible.

We also aim to increase communication and collaboration between journalists working on Arctic projects. If you are interested in a cross-regional project, then feel free to pitch us your idea, and we will put you in touch with the relevant journalists, alternatively contact them directly below.

The Arctic region has become a geopolitical hotspot as nations vie for control of the region’s untapped resources and emerging trade routes, both of which are a result of rising temperatures caused by climate change. However, this global narrative often neglects the local perspectives of the region’s four million inhabitants. The Arctic is home to over thirty different indigenous peoples, each with their history and vision for the future and we want to help ensure that they are represented in the media’s coverage of the region. If you are a freelance journalist reporting on indigenous cultures, please get in touch at info@arcticbureau.com.

The Arctic Bureau Features
The Arctic Region - A Snapshot
The Arctic Region - A Snapshot

Climate Change and the Arctic

The Arctic is a region of spectacular frozen landscapes, extreme climates, unique ecosystems and several distinct indigenous groups.

This northernmost tip of the world is often portrayed as an impassable wilderness only to be transversed by intrepid explorers, eager to prove themselves against one of Earth’s least forgiving landscapes. Today’s reality paints a different picture. Climate change is melting sea ice at an alarming rate, making it easier than ever for ships to make their way across the region.

“Climate change is no longer some far-off problem; it is happening here, it is happening now” Barack Obama at an international conference on the Arctic in 2015

The Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the planet, largely due to a phenomenon called the ice-albedo feedback. This is when the melting ice, exposes darker ocean or land, which absorbs more sunlight and causes the Arctic to warm further.

This remote area of the globe, largely untouched by humans for millennia, is now locked in an unhealthy symbiosis with the rest of the world. Whether it’s rising seas levels or extreme weather patterns, the effects of climate change in the Arctic will impact you wherever you live.

New Members
writes about all things Indigenous, and the North with a capital N
Ossie Michelin

Ossie Michelin is an award-winning Inuk freelance journalist and filmmaker from North West River, Labrador. He writes for a number of…

Arctic Environment
Julie Hollis

Julie is an Australian science communicator, geologist, and writer living in Greenland. She is interested in Arctic science, environment, and…

Arctic Environment
Katie Toth

Katie Toth is most passionate about sharing stories that get to the heart of a subculture — from the dynamics…

Shipping & Transport in the Arctic

The Northeast Passage, which runs along the Siberian coastline, is experiencing more extended ice-free periods during the summer, which has led to a significant increase in traffic. This polar route offers ships travelling between Asia and Europe a significantly shorter journey via the Suez canal. Russia has invested heavily in its maritime infrastructure along the its Arctic coastline. The Chinese government have also highlighted the importance of the polar route as part of their Belt and Road Initiative.

The Northwest Passage, a sea route to the Pacific Ocean via the Canadian archipelago, was first discovered in 1850 by Irish explorer Robert McClure. The Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen was the first to complete the route in the early 20th century. However, the thick Arctic ice pack had, until recently, prevented commercial shipping through the Northwest Passage.

Over the past decade, the melting ice has meant it is now possible for cargo ships to travel during the summer between China and Europe using the Northwest Passage, shaving thousands of miles off their journey. Not only is the journey through the Northwest Passage shorter than via the Panama canal but its deeper waters allow ships to carry more cargo.

In 2014, the Nunavik icebreaker operated by a Canadian shipping company, became the first cargo ship to make it across the passage unescorted. The ship successfully transported 26,000 tonnes of nickel ore from Canada to China in two weeks less time than it would have taken via the Panama Canal.

How much of Earth's resources are found in the Arctic?
  • Freshwater supply
    20%
    20%
  • Land area
    15%
    15%
  • Undiscovered petroleum
    13%
    13%
  • Undiscovered natural gas
    30%
    30%
  • Marine catch
    10%
    10%

Security in the Arctic

In recent years tensions in the Arctic region have increased as the Arctic nations vie for control of these routes. The prospect of soon being able to discover vast oil and natural gas reserves made accessible by the melting ice has led to legal disputes and claims over sovereignty. China, who claims to be a ‘near-arctic nation’ has identified the Arctic shipping route as part of their Belt and Road Initiative.

The Arctic is of immense strategic importance to Russia’s military ambitions. The country’s Northern Fleet – which is based in the Kola Peninsula – contains submarines with over eighty per cent of the nation’s sea-based nuclear weaponry. NATO has increased its own presence in the region with the US taking part in a number of war games above the arctic circle as a response to annual Russian Arctic military exercises.

The US still lack a military infrastructure in the region; they currently only have two icebreakers compared to Russia’s forty. Despite the increase in tensions, there is still a high level of cooperation and dialogue between the Arctic Nations. In 2019, the International Arctic Forum was held in Russia in April and the Arctic Council then met in Finland in May. The Council is an intergovernmental forum that addresses issues faced by the Arctic governments and the indigenous people of the Arctic

People & Places

The nations with land within the Arctic circle are The US, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. Greenland is an autonomous Danish dependent territory with limited self-government and its own parliament which means that Denmark sits on the Arctic Council.

Four million people currently live above the Arctic circle. The largest cities with the most inhabitants are:

  • Murmansk, Russia – 295,375
  • Norilsk, Russia – 178,018
  • Tromsø, Norway – 75,638
  • Apatity, Russia 59,672
  • Vorkuta, Russia – 58,133
  • Severomorsk, Russia – 53,298
  • Bodø, Norway – 51,558

Indigenous peoples are estimated to make up around 10% of the Arctic regions population. Different ethnic groups are living in the Arctic including Saami in Finland, Sweden, Norway and Northwest Russia, Nenets, Khanty, Evenk and Chukchi in Russia, Aleut, Yupik and Inuit (Iñupiat) in Alaska, Inuit (Inuvialuit) in Canada and Inuit (Kalaallit) in Greenland.

These groups enjoy a rich cultural heritage and connection to their land, but globalisation and the influx of new arrivals have meant that indigenous communities have undergone significant changes. Climate change and the prospect of increased commercial activity in the Arctic pose substantial threats to indigenous peoples way of life.

Arctic news sources you should follow

Our vision is to build a community of journalists, photographers and editors interested in Arctic topics. However, it is the latest news from the region that you are looking for then we encourage you to check these reputable and well-established sites that provide high-quality reporting from the region.

  • The Barents Observer: This is a journalist-owned online newspaper covering the Barents Region and the Arctic. They provide excellent reporting from all over the region. Their site is available in English, Russian and Mandarin.
  • High North News: The High North News is an independent newspaper published by the High North Center at the Nord university in Bodø, Norway. This is an excellent source of news written by journalists based in the Arctic region.
  • Icepeople.net: The world’s northernmost alternative newspaper. This news site is the go-to place for news from Svalbard.
  • Nunatsiaq News: The newspaper of record for Nunavut and the Nunavik territory of Quebec.
  • National Snow & Ice Data Center: This site provides the latest Arctic sea ice news and analysis.
  • Reuters: The news agency publishes around three Arctic focused articles per week.
  • The Arctic Institute: The institute’s mission is to help shape policy for a secure, just and sustainable Arctic through objective, multidisciplinary research.

Podcasts:

  • Coffee & Quaq: A podcast that celebrates and explores contemporary life in Urban Alaska.
  • Arctic Conversation Podcast: Arctic journalists discuss developments in the Arctic.
  • Polar Podcasts: Stories from geologists who’ve spent their careers – their lives – exploring and studying the remarkable and remote geology of Greenland.
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