500th article marks milestone for PolarJournal | Polarjournal
The PolarJournal logo is the polar star, which serves as a fixed point in the sky in seafaring. Symbolically, the star is also supposed to be a guide in the sea of polar news. Photo: Michael Wenger

The polar regions have not only risen in favor of travel, at least before the COVID crisis. The cold areas in the north and south of the world also have gained interest in the media, at least in the topics of climate and security policy. But in the Arctic and Antarctic, a lot goes on and much of it is exciting and worth knowing. That’s why the PolarJournal team has been writing and sharing articles and reports on various events on its website for almost 11 months. Today, a month before the first birthday of PolarJournal, the 500th article goes online.

Since the beginning of July 2019, the team of PolarJournal, consisting of Heiner Kubny, Julia Hager and Michael Wenger, has been striving to collect, share or write the articles themselves almost daily to collect the most interesting news about the polar regions. However, basic journalistic values such as fact-baseness, independence and neutrality are to be the cornerstones. “Many media outlets today reflect the views of sponsors, editors-in-chief, political parties, or other stakeholders. We think that people can only develop their own opinions with facts,” says Michael Wenger of PolarJournal. For this, the three scribes sometimes also work on weekends and holidays.

Heiner Kubny, who has been travelling in the polar regions for almost 25 years, would actually be retired. But the Arctic, especially the Russian Arctic, has become a passion for the photographer and ex-entrepreneur so that he wants to continue to share his enthusiasm. Photo: Private

But what does reaching the 500 articles mean for the three team members. Heiner Kubny, who could actually enjoy his retirement after retiring from the polar travel business, says in response to the question: “I am very happy about how quickly our team has managed to reach such a large and loyal readership with our reports. Amazingly, PolarJournal isn’t even a year old. In addition, I enjoy working together with such a competent and motivated team.”

Michael Wenger, the former fish biologist and current online editor, also says: “As a person with a scientific background, I don’t want people to take my opinion, but to develop knowledge based on facts and create their opinion from it. If this does not agree with my opinion, I am happy to discuss it. This is how discourse and development are created. And I have been able to experience this over and over again in the past 500 articles. That’s why the 500 means a lot to me.”

Julia Hager, the latest and most recent addition to the team means: “500 articles = 500 times fascinating, exciting, stirring, sometimes sad but also funny , opened up sources of knowledge and thereby reflected or visually awakened numerous own impressions, experiences and unforgettable encounters – this is how I have experienced this since November last year. I have been part of the PolarJournal team for almost seven months now and it is also important to me to inform our readers about what is happening in the polar regions and to pass on my enthusiasm for these regions to them. I am very pleased that our articles are attracting more and more readers and raising awareness of the protection of the Arctic and Antarctic.”

Marine biologist and environmental expert Julia Hager is not only associated with polar topics. With her platform “mountain2ocean” she devotes herself with dedication to various environmental topics. In addition, she also gives lectures and thus sensitizes people to greater consideration. Photo: Private

The range of topics covered in the past 499 articles is broad. It is true that scientific topics such as climate change, the environment and animals dominate. But the diversity of the polar regions is also to be represented from economic and security policy to cultural and social stories. This is also the part that moves him the most, say Heiner Kubny: “In and of itself, every news from the polar regions is very exciting. The variety and diversity is important.” For Julia, above all, it is the reports on climate and the environment that move her the most: “The article on the possible climate tipping points that have already been reached has moved me the most, because this would mean that the global chain reaction is getting under way and we have no chance of changing course,” she explains. And for Michael Wenger? “I was most moved by the story surrounding the plane crash in the Drake Passage. For the first time, as a writer, I was closer than just sharing the report as I used to. I followed the daily news of the Chilean authorities, experienced the uncertainty as to whether someone had survived and felt with the bereaved.”

Michael Wenger, who left the scientific world to impart knowledge rather than create knowledge, works from home like the rest of the team and, in addition to the articles, also works on PolarJournal’s social media channels. Photo: Private

But thanks for the 500th article do not go to the team alone, but also to all the sources from which the PolarJournal team benefits. “Over the past few months, we have found out how the world of media professionals of the Polar regions is actually ticking,” explains Michael Wenger. “Without the portals such asThe Independent Barents Observer,Eye on the Arctic,High North News,Arctic Today and all the media outlets of the Antarctic programs, it would be very difficult for us to get all this news. Our thanks also go to all these people!» And what does the crew want for the next 500 items? “My goal in the future is to bring even more interested readers closer to the fascination of the Polar regions with their positive and also unfortunately negative events,” says Heiner Kubny. “That we can report more often on events and developments, give hope and be positive, in line with World Environment Day,” explains Julia. “Working even more closely with stakeholders of all stripes, so that people get a better understanding of the polar regions,” says Michael Wenger.

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