Why is San Francisco's hinterland so poor? Which barriers do people in the U.S. encounter who have to live and work without papers? Why are so many indigenous children in Canada still being separated from their families? Will British Columbia's last remaining old-growth forests stand a chance?

Questions like these keep me busy. I am a journalist and photographer in Vancouver, B.C., with a focus on social justice, migration, and the environment.

A full-time journalist since 2010, I have been living in North America since 2014, among others with journalism fellowships by the ACGUSA and the Boell Foundation. I speak four languages, and have worked in (post) conflict countries.

Most of my texts are on my German site >>

Christina Felschen - journalist & photographer

Imagine the U.S. Capitol attack in slow motion – and you get the Ottawa blockade

published on February 22, 2022, by the German nationwide newspaper ZEIT ONLINE (in German) >>

Canada’s police have removed most of the trucks from Ottawa, but the protestors have achieved their goal: financially backed by Trump supporters, they have weakened Canadian politics and society. How did it get this far?

Hard selection, soft landing: Is Canada’s immigration policy as good as its image?

Translation of my German-language radio documentary (19mn), broadcast by Deutschlandfunk (German public radio) on Nov 23, 2021 >>

Canada opened its borders to people of all nationalities back in the 1960s, provided they bring the right qualifications. The German government discusses whether this could be a model for them. But Canada’s often idealized immigration system is classist and encourages exploitation, critics say.

Under the bridges of Stockton

published by ZEIT ONLINE, January 2, 2018 >> (text, translation, and photos: CF)

The Bay Area is booming, but misery is spreading in San Francisco’s hinterland. A young mayor is now experimenting with a radical idea: a basic income.

Can her research reform the World Bank?

published by Letter, the magazine of the German Academic Exchange Service DAAD >> (and as a short version on the DAAD website >>)

When Professor Pinelopi „Penny“ Goldberg applied for the position of chief economist at the World Bank in 2018, it was not her first application to the bank. Thirty years before she had applied for an internship, but was rejected. She took it as a challenge, which brought her from Freiburg to Yale and finally to Washington D.C. nonetheless.

Undocumented – and indispensable

published in German by ZEIT ONLINE on February 28, 2017 >>

Harvest workers, nannies, craftspeople: Eleven million people live in the US without papers, nothing goes without them. Trump wants to deport them anyway. A life full of fear.

Crossing – what if people die in your backyard

broadcasted on German public radio SWR on November 7 and 8, 2016, and again on August 14, 2018 >

Kat Rodriguez has one of the hardest jobs along the US Mexican border. She supports Central American families in finding relatives who went missing on their journey to the US. All too often, they find their bodies in the Sonoran Desert behind Kat’s house. On her mission to stop the deaths, Kat crossed the desert on foot with 70 women, men, teenagers and me. Join us in my radio feature.

Gold rush in Silicon Valley

published by Uniglobale Magazine, Germany, 4/2016; text, photos, and translation: CF >>

Software engineers from all over the world rave about working in the San Francisco Bay Area. But if their non-techie partners follow them, they usually have a hard time professionally – and might well end up as ice cream vendors with Ph.D.s.

Amanda’s Prison

final film of the New York Film Academy’s documentary program

Amanda Morales Guerra has rarely seen the light of day since she entered Holyrood Church Santa Cruz almost a year ago. As she fled violence in her native Guatemala and, after years in the US, a deportation order by the Trump administration, priest and activist Luis Barrios had offered her sanctuary in his church in Uptown Manhattan. When I visit Amanda, she is caught up in memories of the inflatable children’s pool in her garden in Long Island, her own slice of the American Dream.

How Clearview helps the Trump administration target undocumented immigrants

published on the NUDGED blog, March 14, 2020 >>

A small US company is selling an app that might end our ability to walk down the street anonymously. Among its clients: authoritarian states and US immigration enforcement. Jacinta Gonzalez, an organizer with the NGO Mijente, talked with us about why this puts the 11 million undocumented people in the United States at an even higher risk for deportation.

“It was the perfect storm”

Published on the NUDGED blog, March 18, 2020 >>

Before 700,000 Rohingya fled the genocide in Myanmar in 2017, the military had riled up millions of users against the group in a hate speech campaign on Facebook. Why did the company not intervene? And could this happen again? Human rights experts Matthew Smith (Fortify Rights) and Alan Davis (Institute for War and Peace Reporting), who both witnessed the events leading up to the genocide, shared their insights with me on the phone.

The techie resistance

Published on the NUDGED blog, March 6, 2020 >>

Dirty data, greed for gain and a lack of diversity in the tech sector: There are many reasons why algorithms discriminate. But lawyers, regulators and, most importantly, critical techies have started standing up against A.I.’s destructive potential. Will human intelligence win?

“Algorithms are opinions embedded in code”

published on the NUDGED blog, February 28, 2020 >>

Tech companies have taken over the power to make decisions for us. That can be convenient as long as it concerns playlists or navigation. However, under the guise of “objectivity”, their algorithms also categorize humans and reinforce social inequality.

Fenced In, Fenced Out

German version (with photo essay) published February 14, 2017 by ZEIT ONLINE >>

In the US Mexican borderlands, even Trump voters oppose the president’s plan to erect a border wall. They fear that even more immigrants will die in their backyard.