For quite some time now, J-lab has been researching developments within local journalism in the Netherlands and the shifts taking place within broadcasting stations, weekly magazines, free local papers and online platforms. In 2021, a new overview of the local media in all 355 municipalities in the Netherlands was done. The main question was: which local media are active in which municipalities and to what extent do media interact with the public in their community?
The results show that the number of hyperlocals (websites that offer local news and which are not connected to another, generally offline medium) has doubled since the last overview, conducted in 2012. It also appears that in almost all Dutch municipalities other media outlets, such as free local papers, local broadcasters, websites of those broadcasters, or websites of a daily newspaper are used. You would think you could conclude that the journalistic climate is healthy, based on such an overview. But that would be premature. For example, the existence of the most common form of media, the hyperlocal, is extremely erratic. Hyperlocals come and go. And there is reasonable doubt about the quality of their reporting, according to previous research. And finally, the connection with the public - which should be the pre-eminent characteristic of local journalism - is by no means always present. The latter also applies to the other media types mentioned. Locally, journalism also continues to 'send' for the most part instead of interact and be part of the local community.
Read the full research here: