October 15, 2014

Welcome (Back) to Lillehammer — SKUP Gets Ready for GIJC15!

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The ninth Global Investigative Journalism Conference at Lillehammer, Norway, is now less than a year away. Your local hosts at SKUP — Norway’s investigative journalists association — went there last week and are pleased to report that plans for GIJC15 look most promising.

For those who missed the fifth GIJC in 2008 — also hosted in Lillehammer — here are some quick facts about place and the conference venue.

LilyhammerLillehammer is a small city in the countryside north of Oslo. It is known as the host city of the Winter Olympics in 1994, and in recent years for the TV series “Lilyhammer,” about a New York gangster (Steven van Zandt) who hides in the town.

From the Oslo airport, Gardermoen, it’s one hour and 45 minutes by direct train to Lillehammer. From the city’s train station it’s walking distance to the conference venue.

But don’t worry, there will be shuttle buses to take you there.

The hotel, Radisson Blu Lillehammer, is the same one we used for the fifth GIJC in 2008. But since then the conference facilities have been significantly upgraded.


The grand Radisson Blu Lillehammer Hotel passes inspection by noted investigative journalists John Bones and Jens Egil Heftoy of SKUP. Credit: Jan Gunnar Furuly.

The conference facilities include more than a dozen different rooms and halls. All are located in the same building and on the same level.


Credit: John Bones.

The Radisson Blu Lillehammer hotel was built in 1911 and upgraded in several steps since then. The latest remodeling, which includes the main conference hall, was finished just weeks after our earlier conference in 2008. Despite all the rebuilding, the hotel has kept its traditional, cozy style. You will find wall-to-wall carpets, deep armchairs, and wooden walls with old romantic Norwegian paintings. And the former hotel director’s Harley Davidson is still standing in the bar.

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The investigative team of Bones, Furuly, and Heftoy, inspecting the quality of beer in the historic hotel bar.

Last week SKUP Board Chairman Jan Gunnar Furuly, Board member John Bones, and Director Jens Egil Heftoy traveled to Lillehammer to inspect the venue in detail and negotiate the final deals. All went well.

All Inclusive

In total we have more than 900 rooms available in the small city of Lillehammer. That gives us more than 1600 hotel beds. And we can get more if needed.

The prices for single rooms will be about US$235 or €185 per night. For a four-night stay, Wednesday to Sunday, that’s about $940 or €740. If you share a room, you can save about US$120 or €100 each.

Pricey you say?

Well, the price does include three daily meals, coffee, cakes, and fruit during the day, and the gala dinner on Saturday evening. So the only extra cost you might have during your stay is what you spend in the bar. Actually, the hotel price is almost to the dime the same as it was in 2008, six years ago.

The Band Is Back

If you did visit the GIJC in 2008, you might remember the first appearance of what has become GIJN’s own houseband, “The Muckrackers.” The group was founded at a jam session at the 2008 conference (in the hotel basement bar) and they have played at every global conference since then. Next year we bring them back to where it all started, right here in Baglern Pub. And there are strong rumors that the entire original cast will be there.

Mark it in your calendars: October 8-11, 2015.

See you in Lillehammer!

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This journalist needs company. Won’t you and a thousand other muckrakers join him in Lillehammer? Credit: John Bones.


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