Introduction • Over the Line

This anthology presents a selection of the best European narrative journalism of the moment. These stories held large audiences in their grip and teach profound lessons about European societies and societies around the globe.

The narrators in Over the line clearly show that the genre of narrative journalism has become mature. European journalists have definitely found their own voices and clearly demonstrate that they master the genre at their fingertips. How could they not, with the distinct and varied narrative traditions in Europe.

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Papa, we’re in Syria

An ordinary German family is pulled apart when the two grown up sons convert to Islam, and run away to join IS in Syria. Father and sons keep contact through WhatsApp voice messages. These messages bring the story very close to the listener as the gap within the family becomes wider and wider. Eventually, father Gerhard travels to Syria to try to find his sons.


Maker: Christian Lerch

Category: Listen

WDR

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The Halfjes: All of Louis’s Children

Alle kinderen van Louis, a book about a Dutch-Surinamese sperm donor and his 200 biological children marked Kamil Baluk's writing debut. It received great reviews in Poland and will be published in Dutch in April 2018 by De Geus. Bałuk remained one of the last journalists who interviewed controversial sperm doctor Jan Karbaat. Bałuk is now working on his second book, which will be a work of 12 reportages about the Netherlands through the eyes of a foreigner.


Maker: Kamil Baluk

Category: Read

BRUNA

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Brit(ish)

Sky- and Guardian-journalist Afua Hirsch recently published her first book, Brit-ish, revealing a crisis of identity in Britain and the country's failure to provide British people of diverse backgrounds with a sense of belonging and inclusion. Drawing on her own life, and decades of working on issues of social justice, equality and the politics of identity and immigration, Afua has written a book for anyone who has experienced outsiderness or otherness themselves, or who cares about the profound differences alienating British people today. Her book is a powerful narrative on finding your own voice as a storyteller.


Maker: Afua Hirsch

Category: Read

Atlas Contact

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Europe’s Waiting Room

Graphic journalism is an old craft, one that was already practiced during World War I, as Aimée points out in the explanation of her work. She is afraid that reportage drawings have lost their value in this age of film and photo. But she herself proves that this is not the case. On the contrary, her pictures of refugees on the island of Lesbos tell a story that we would not have known otherwise. Apparently trusted by the refugees, Aimée comes very close to them with her sketchbook, and draws their lives with caring detail.


Maker: Aimée de Jongh

Category: Click

NRC / Drawing the Times

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The Deal

In March 2018, it is two years since the EU-Turkey migrant deal came into effect. Under the deal, Syrian refugees who had reached Greece were to be returned to Turkey, while Syrian asylum seekers in Turkey were to be resettled in the EU. S ome regard the deal as a necessary evil; others as a diabolical pact. The EU-Turkey deal now serves as an example for new agreements with countries in North Africa. But does it even work? For whom? And what have we learned from it? Documentary The Deal explores the answers to these questions as well as possible improvements for Europe's current asylum policy. 


Maker: Eefje Blankevoort and Els van Driel

Category: Watch

EO/IKONdocs

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BOB

In narrative podcast series BOB, follow 84-year old Elisa, who is slowly fading into dementia. Only recently, years after her husband died, she has started to mention her old neighbour boy Bob, whom, she says, she has had a secret affair with and who even got her pregnant when she was just fifteen. Her three daughters are surprised; they’ve never even heard of Bob. Did he really exist? Is this truly a story of a romantic first love? And do they have a sibling that was given up for adoption at birth?


Maker: Audiocollectief SCHIK

Category: Listen

VPRO DORST

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Future Cities

Journalist Stephanie Bakker and photographer Yvonne Brandwijk have worked on their worldwide project Future Cities for the past three years. This cross-media web documentary forms a portrait of five cities of the future. What do cities like Lima, Kinshasa, Yangon, Medellín and Addis Abeba have in common?


Maker: Stephanie Bakker and Yvonne Brandwijk

Category: Click

Future Cities

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Slash and Burn

Terje Abusdal explores the lives of the Forest Finns, an ethnic minority, peregrinating in the North of Finland. Their original language and religion have disappeared, but their way of life in the dense northern forests is appealing, now more than ever. It attracts new followers, who officially belong to this minority on the sole condition that they feel like it. Abusdal recreates the life of the Forest Finns in an original way, and literally sheds new light on an unknown part of Europe. As a storyteller, he knows that reality is best told with imagination. He uses fiction to document a long gone past.


Maker: Terje Abusdal

Category: Click

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The Baby in the Plastic Bag

Bernt Jakob Oksnes managed to capture a large part of the Norwegian public for weeks with the story of a baby left for dead at a cemetery. His newspaper Dagbladet invested heavily in the online presentation, which generated many new subscribers. When the series was translated into English, the story of the baby who miraculously survived conquered the world.


Maker: Bernt Jakob Oksnes

Category: Click

Dagbladet

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TRACKS

Tracks is a combination of two distinct media: audio and video. Because they are never shown together –none of the interviewees speaks on-camera—they remain separated. There is the story of the train operators who share their experience with jumpers, people who commit suicide by letting themselves be ravaged by a passing train. And there is the visual element: fairly uniform images shot from the perspective of the train operator.


Maker: Gunnar Bergdahl

Category: Watch

Vilda Bomben Film AB

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Brit(ish)

Sky- and Guardian-journalist Afua Hirsch recently published her first book, Brit-ish, revealing a crisis of identity in Britain and the country's failure to provide British people of diverse backgrounds with a sense of belonging and inclusion. Drawing on her own life, and decades of working on issues of social justice, equality and the politics of identity and immigration, Afua has written a book for anyone who has experienced outsiderness or otherness themselves, or who cares about the profound differences alienating British people today. Her book is a powerful narrative on finding your own voice as a storyteller.


Maker: Afua Hirsch

Category: Read

Atlas Contact

Read More

The Baby in the Plastic Bag

Bernt Jakob Oksnes managed to capture a large part of the Norwegian public for weeks with the story of a baby left for dead at a cemetery. His newspaper Dagbladet invested heavily in the online presentation, which generated many new subscribers. When the series was translated into English, the story of the baby who miraculously survived conquered the world.


Maker: Bernt Jakob Oksnes

Category: Click

Dagbladet

Read More

The Halfjes: All of Louis’s Children

Alle kinderen van Louis, a book about a Dutch-Surinamese sperm donor and his 200 biological children marked Kamil Baluk's writing debut. It received great reviews in Poland and will be published in Dutch in April 2018 by De Geus. Bałuk remained one of the last journalists who interviewed controversial sperm doctor Jan Karbaat. Bałuk is now working on his second book, which will be a work of 12 reportages about the Netherlands through the eyes of a foreigner.


Maker: Kamil Baluk

Category: Read

BRUNA

Read More

The Deal

In March 2018, it is two years since the EU-Turkey migrant deal came into effect. Under the deal, Syrian refugees who had reached Greece were to be returned to Turkey, while Syrian asylum seekers in Turkey were to be resettled in the EU. S ome regard the deal as a necessary evil; others as a diabolical pact. The EU-Turkey deal now serves as an example for new agreements with countries in North Africa. But does it even work? For whom? And what have we learned from it? Documentary The Deal explores the answers to these questions as well as possible improvements for Europe's current asylum policy. 


Maker: Eefje Blankevoort and Els van Driel

Category: Watch

EO/IKONdocs

Read More

TRACKS

Tracks is a combination of two distinct media: audio and video. Because they are never shown together –none of the interviewees speaks on-camera—they remain separated. There is the story of the train operators who share their experience with jumpers, people who commit suicide by letting themselves be ravaged by a passing train. And there is the visual element: fairly uniform images shot from the perspective of the train operator.


Maker: Gunnar Bergdahl

Category: Watch

Vilda Bomben Film AB

Read More

Future Cities

Journalist Stephanie Bakker and photographer Yvonne Brandwijk have worked on their worldwide project Future Cities for the past three years. This cross-media web documentary forms a portrait of five cities of the future. What do cities like Lima, Kinshasa, Yangon, Medellín and Addis Abeba have in common?


Maker: Stephanie Bakker and Yvonne Brandwijk

Category: Click

Future Cities

Read More

Slash and Burn

Terje Abusdal explores the lives of the Forest Finns, an ethnic minority, peregrinating in the North of Finland. Their original language and religion have disappeared, but their way of life in the dense northern forests is appealing, now more than ever. It attracts new followers, who officially belong to this minority on the sole condition that they feel like it. Abusdal recreates the life of the Forest Finns in an original way, and literally sheds new light on an unknown part of Europe. As a storyteller, he knows that reality is best told with imagination. He uses fiction to document a long gone past.


Maker: Terje Abusdal

Category: Click

Read More

Europe’s Waiting Room

Graphic journalism is an old craft, one that was already practiced during World War I, as Aimée points out in the explanation of her work. She is afraid that reportage drawings have lost their value in this age of film and photo. But she herself proves that this is not the case. On the contrary, her pictures of refugees on the island of Lesbos tell a story that we would not have known otherwise. Apparently trusted by the refugees, Aimée comes very close to them with her sketchbook, and draws their lives with caring detail.


Maker: Aimée de Jongh

Category: Click

NRC / Drawing the Times

Read More

Future Cities

Journalist Stephanie Bakker and photographer Yvonne Brandwijk have worked on their worldwide project Future Cities for the past three years. This cross-media web documentary forms a portrait of five cities of the future. What do cities like Lima, Kinshasa, Yangon, Medellín and Addis Abeba have in common?


Maker: Stephanie Bakker and Yvonne Brandwijk

Category: Click

Future Cities

Read More

The Baby in the Plastic Bag

Bernt Jakob Oksnes managed to capture a large part of the Norwegian public for weeks with the story of a baby left for dead at a cemetery. His newspaper Dagbladet invested heavily in the online presentation, which generated many new subscribers. When the series was translated into English, the story of the baby who miraculously survived conquered the world.


Maker: Bernt Jakob Oksnes

Category: Click

Dagbladet

Read More

BOB

In narrative podcast series BOB, follow 84-year old Elisa, who is slowly fading into dementia. Only recently, years after her husband died, she has started to mention her old neighbour boy Bob, whom, she says, she has had a secret affair with and who even got her pregnant when she was just fifteen. Her three daughters are surprised; they’ve never even heard of Bob. Did he really exist? Is this truly a story of a romantic first love? And do they have a sibling that was given up for adoption at birth?


Maker: Audiocollectief SCHIK

Category: Listen

VPRO DORST

Read More

Papa, we’re in Syria

An ordinary German family is pulled apart when the two grown up sons convert to Islam, and run away to join IS in Syria. Father and sons keep contact through WhatsApp voice messages. These messages bring the story very close to the listener as the gap within the family becomes wider and wider. Eventually, father Gerhard travels to Syria to try to find his sons.


Maker: Christian Lerch

Category: Listen

WDR

Read More