The prime of local journalism in the Netherlands
2020 - 2021
Completed research

Local journalism is perhaps struggling even more than other forms of journalism. At the same time, different trends (such as longing for identity) and events (such as corona) show that local journalism is both massively beneficial and highly necessary. To be able to explore the possibilities of future local journalism, we had to go back to the time when almost all journalism was local. A time where this form of journalism blossomed as never before: roughly half a century after the Abolition of the Newspaper Stamp (1869), so at the end of the 19th, beginning of the 20th century, with extensions until well after the Second World War, depending on the region or city. To this end, we looked in particular into journalism in (approximately 40) medium-sized cities in the Netherlands (all larger cities except the big four: Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht). One of the main findings of the study is that local journalism during that time served a completely different purpose from that with which it has long been commonly associated. At the time, local journalism was not so much about news and objectivity, but more about local practice and (geographical) subjectivity, about bonding, community, social contacts, supply and demand, etc. These results show that research into the past does not only shed an interesting light on the future, but also on the profession. Journalism is so much more than 'news'.

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About Journalismlab

Research group Journalism in Digital Transition of the University of Applied Sciences Utrecht

Het lectoraat Kwaliteitsjournalistiek in Digitale Transitie (JournalismLab) doet aan de hand van diverse thema’s praktijkgericht onderzoek. Hierbij kijken we naar de wederkerigheid tussen drie journalistieke processen: productie, inhoud en effect.

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