One October morning in 1991, a newborn baby boy was found inside a plastic bag in a churchyard in Oslo, Norway. The infant was on the brink of death. What occurred in the subsequent hours, weeks and years constitutes a thrilling drama and piece of narrative journalism…

Read 'The Baby in the Plastic Bag' in 9 partsExplanation by makerBack to the stories
 

Bernt Jakob Oksnes (1973) is one of Norway’s most awarded narrative journalists. His human interest longform stories and documentaries have gained a lot of attention and a massive reader engagement, both in Norway and internationally. One of his last projects, “The Baby in the Plastic Bag” won several international awards in 2017; the European Digital Media Awards, Lovie Awards and W3 Awards, and was shortlisted for the European Press Prize and the American Webby Awards. The series was also listed for the prestigious «100 Exceptional Works of Journalism» in 2017, published by The Atlantic. “The Baby in the Plastic Bag” is recommended by individuals and media organizations in 45 countries. A record breaking amount of readers subscribed to the Norwegian Dagbladet's digital edition, just to get to read the new episode some days before they could read it on their free-site platform. In 2011 Oksnes won “The Journalist of the Year in Norway”, for his story “The Invisible”, where he reconstructed the life of a man who was buried with no-one coming in his funeral – apart from Oksnes, the writer. His projects have also been adapted into TV. In 2016 he won New York Festival’s TV- and Film Award.
Why this story? 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. The narrative is subdued and subtle, often taking a step back to reflect on the events. Oksnes spun the story out over nine episodes, using all the techniques of TV series, with cliffhangers and repetitions from different perspectives. 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.
Explanation by the maker "Growing up, stories about abandoned babies made an impression on me. I have always gravitated toward unusual characters and stories. When I dug deeper, I found ten cases in Norway over the last thirty years. But one story differed markedly; there was something about its bizarre poetry: the churchyard, the plastic bag, the frost on the grass on the graveyard, the bloody receipt in the plastic bag, the spectacular reunion of mother and son. Here is a huge story, an epic tale of life, death and love." Read more
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