If you are in Norway during the summer, you will most likely gaze upon some quite strange news, making the headlines of know national newspapers. News like teddy bears gone missing or shops running out of ice cream are referred as “agurknytt” aka "cucumber news" in Norway.
Summer is the silly season: the peak season of the cucumber news
At the start of our silly season there’s not a lot happening in Norway. Being in one of the safest countries in the world, when the Parliament and the Courts are closed over the summer, you’ll notice that there’s not a lot of interesting news happening.
Yet, the newspapers still need to fill their pages, which is why light-hearted stories about heat waves and unusual strawberry shapes make headline news.
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1# We are surrounded by monsters
If you think Norwegian land still belongs to the Norwegians, you must have missed the headline in VG: “Invasion of the Killer Snails”.
In 2012, Norway became part of the Kingdom of the Brown Snail after the snails went on a “rampage” across the country, eating the plants we love and threatening anyone with a patch of garden.
In the absence of real news material, journalists use booster words to make their stories stand out. Mosquitos morph into monster mosquitos; songs become monster hits and trucks transform into monster trucks. And “evil” snails are no exception.
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2# "Marit spends the summer jerking off pigs" - Summer jobs with funny headlines
"Marit spends the summer jerking off pigs" is a headline that is difficult to ignore, especially when used by one of the top publishers in Norway: NRK.
Most Norwegian teenagers spend some of their summer holiday working. It’s called a “sommerjobb”, and local newspapers never tire of interviewing teens who’ve landed unusual jobs. Available jobs include things like reading Donald Duck magazines out loud, or being a polar bear guard. Why not try something different?
3# Breaking news: animals being animals
Nothing shouts summer louder than newspapers dedicating column inches to stories about animals. Sheep on the run, and of course, children saving baby birds are all signs that summer is here.
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4# Peacock rescued by a fireman
It´s a beautiful day at Duggveien, as the clock strikes 11 am, suddenly... a peacock crashes into a house.
The fire brigade arrived at 5 pm managed to get the bird down. Of course, the media had front row seats and the peacock couldn't escape becoming the next day's headlines.
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5# Norwegians abroad
Norwegians also make the best headlines when they are abroad. Sometimes, Norwegians forget their manners in the face of vacation euphoria. Stories about Norwegians behaving badly and getting drunk are favorite cucumber news headlines.
6# My tomato looks like a duck!
What does Norwegians do when they find a fruit or vegetable with a funny shape? They call a journalist!
Or it might even be the discovery of a potato which is slightly bigger than other potatoes. And if a Norwegian happens to find a whole potato in a bag of potato chips, then the biggest newspaper in Norway will send a journalist to cover the story.
7# Good old -fashioned fearmongering
Journalists know all too well that playing on people’s fears is a sure way to generate clicks. It’s just that during the summer months we worry less. We relax. But that doesn’t stop journalists from trying, by writing stories about shops running out of popcorn and how breweries may not have enough packaging to get their golden drops onto the shelves.
8# The latest news about... ICE CREAM
Ice cream is a national obsession in Norway. The season starts on May 17 and ends when the kids return to school. During these three months, people will indulge in their old favourites, but they will also try out the new ice creams on the market. Every summer, you’ll find tests where experts score the new arrivals.
9# Chasing the sun
Weather is something like religion in Norway, and Norwegians consume news about the summer sun as if it was of the utmost importance. Expect frequent updates in the media about record temperatures, sunny spells - or most probably, wet and windy conditions.
10# The feel-good factor
Finally, let’s not forget that summer is a time to be happy, and unlike the rest of the year, cucumber news also includes the happy stuff – gladnyhet in Norwegian. Like this story about an experienced moose hunter who opted to shoot this little guy with his camera rather than his rifle.
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