Announcement of the death of Lapido Media Chairman Revd Dr Arne Fjeldstad

by - 25th November 2014

LAPIDO MEDIA Chairman, Dr Arne Fjeldstad, a Norwegian former national newspaper editor, died suddenly of a heart attack at his home in Kristiansand, Norway at 4pm Sunday.

Friends and collaborators around the world paid tribute on Facebook to the newsman, pastor and scholar who mentored and trained a generation of journalists throughout the world.

Lapido Chief Executive Dr Jenny Taylor said today:  ‘We are all in a state of shock and disbelief.  Arne was our rock.  He helped launch Lapido Media at Frontline in 2007, and remained a Trustee and Chair until his death. 

‘He had a unique combination of skills and sensibilities: a mentor and adventurer who understood religions in all their diversity, and loved the human beings struggling with whatever faith they had. 

‘But he was at heart a newsman with a passionate Christian take on that, and a tireless zeal to encourage good journalism around the globe.

‘I never saw him lose his rag, though I know his punishing schedule of travels was taking its toll. 

'Typically when I spoke to him last Thursday, he was already planning to try and work in a flight to London for our national consultation on 6 January at Westminster.

‘He was unique and is irreplaceable.’

Taylor added that a further announcement would be made shortly about a new Chairman.

Dr Fjeldstad was a newspaper journalist and editor for more than 30 years, many of them on the Norwegian daily Aftenposten of which he became Night Editor. For five years he was based in the Middle East as the CEO/publisher of a media company involved with magazine production and web publishing. 

His doctorate was on the media and - presciently - the uses of the internet, and he served part-time as lecturer in journalism and communications at the Mediehogskolen Gimlekollen in Kristiansand, Norway.

He became founding CEO of the Washington-based Media Project, originally based in Oxford, and helped set up – and then Chair – Gegrapha, a global network of Christians in mainstream media.  He also set up the website GetReligion, edited by Terry Mattingly in Washington. 

He had in recent years hosted journalists’ conferences in Kenya, Cameroon, Zambia, Peru, Argentina, Korea, Ukraine, Australia, Indonesia, India, Malaysia. 

With Lapido in 2008, he also helped run and fund the London launch of the influential Blind Spot: When Journalists don’t get Religion, edited by Paul Marshall, Lela Gilbert and Roberta Green Ahmanson, published by Oxford University Press.

He was due to fly to South Korea to run another conference this week.

US columnist and British-born leader of the anti-persecution movement, based in Washington DC, Paul Marshall wrote on Facebook:  ‘I cannot even try to record what he meant to me and to countless others.’

Media Project Chairman, the journalist Roberta Green Ahmanson described him as ‘one of God’s great men.

‘He knew that journalists are human beings with all kinds of personal and spiritual challenges.  His work lives on in the lives of those whom he taught and mentored.’

Dr Fjeldstad is survived by his wife Hilde and adopted daughter Silye-Maria.