Most of Norway’s major newspapers are no longer sending copies to Svalbard, citing the cost of doing so on commercial flights, with Longyearbyen’s largest retailer now scrambling to negotiate an alternative means of shipment.
The recent decision about a week ago by Verdens Gang, Dagbladet and others is occurring during a time of the year when Svalbard gets its largest number of overnight visitors, including Norwegians who no longer will be able to read the news from their hometowns, said Karin Mella, manager of Svalbardbutikken.
“It’s dumb,” she said. “Very dumb.”
Newspapers have long been shipped on Scandinavian Airlines passenger flights. Mella said the store, as the Longyearbyen’s biggest retailer, is now seeking a solution such as obtaining newspapers on mail/cargo flights on behalf of all businesses selling newspapers in town.
Gry Sneltvedt, manager of the Mix kiosk, where one of the two newsracks have been removed due to a lack of publications, said Aftenposten notified her they were halting shipments of newspapers before Easter, with Verdens Gang and Dagbladet stopping shipments – without notifying her – more recently. She said northern newspapers such as the Tromsø-based Nordlys are continuing to provide copies to retailers, but they have a far smaller readership than the cancelled newspapers.