Why is the hinterland of San Francisco so poor? What are the barriers faced by undocumented people living and working in the U.S.? Why are so many indigenous children in Canada still 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 based in Vancouver, B.C., with a focus on social justice, migration, and the environment.

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

Most of my writing can be found 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) >>

The Canadian police has removed most of the trucks from Ottawa, but the protesters have achieved their goal: financially supported by Trump supporters, they have weakened Canadian politics and society. How did it come to this?

Tough 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 in the 1960s, provided they had the right qualifications. The German government is discussing whether this could be a model for them. But critics say Canada’s often idealized immigration system is classist and encourages exploitation.

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 the hinterland of San Francisco. 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 earlier, she had applied for an internship, but was rejected. She took it as a challenge, which led her from Freiburg to Yale and finally to Washington D.C.

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 toughest jobs along the U.S.-Mexican border. She helps Central American families find relatives who have disappeared on their journey to the United States. All too often, their bodies are found 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 when their non-tech partners follow them, they tend to struggle professionally – and may 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 walked into Holyrood Church Santa Cruz nearly a year ago. Fleeing violence in her native Guatemala and, after years in the U.S., a deportation order from the Trump administration, priest and activist Luis Barrios had offered her sanctuary in his uptown Manhattan church. When I visit Amanda, she is filled with memories of the inflatable kiddie pool in her Long Island backyard, her own piece of the American dream.

How Clearview is Helping the Trump Administration Target Undocumented Immigrants

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

A small US company sells an app that could end our ability to walk down the street anonymously. Its clients include authoritarian states and US immigration authorities. Jacinta Gonzalez, an organizer with the NGO Mijente, spoke with us about why this puts the 11 million undocumented people in the United States at even greater risk of deportation.

“It was the perfect storm”

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

Before 700,000 Rohingya fled genocide in Myanmar in 2017, the military had incited millions of users against the group in a hate speech campaign on Facebook. Why did the company not intervene? And could it 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 over the phone.

The Techie Resistance

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

Dirty data, greed for profit, 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 begun to push back against AI’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. This can be convenient when it comes to playlists or navigation. But under the guise of “objectivity”, their algorithms also categorize people 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 build a border wall. They fear that even more immigrants will die in their backyard.