Our research group conducts practice-oriented research into journalism in the Netherlands. This research is scientific in nature, but always brings about results that are valuable to the daily practice of journalism. Our field covers the journalism profession (‘production’), the journalistic product (‘form and content’) and the meaning & role of journalism in society (‘effect’). We analyse mainly from the perspective of the digital transition in our entire society, and journalism in particular.
Our research mainly focuses on the following themes:
Until about ten to twenty years ago, few people had any doubts about which type of journalism deserved to be marked as ‘high-quality’. That was journalism that worked according to the so-called news paradigm with its emphasis on hard news, journalistic control function and the requirement of objectivity. Research into this was based on the traditional communication model of sender, message, receiver. Within this space, the emphasis was on the sender (producer, company, newspaper, editors and journalist) and possibly on the message. The receiver, i.e. the public, was little more than what the word implies, passive: receiver, reader, viewer, listener. passief: ontvanger, lezer, kijker, luisteraar.
Recent developments, in particular as a result of digitisation, have completely unsettled both the principles and practice of journalism. Crucial here is that the role of the public has become much bigger due to the digitisation. Nowadays, everyone considers themselves a journalist and news keeps finding channels other than those belonging to the sphere of journalism. Partly because of that, hard and soft news, objectivity and subjectivity, fact and fiction are more difficult to differentiate. Technology plays an increasing part: news is often generated or collected by robots; stories are manipulated by so-called virtual reality. This goes as far as making people say something on camera that they actually never said (deep fake).
To cut a long story short: the digitisation in particular shakes journalism to its core and poses an immense challenge to media professionals. The research group, formally called ‘ Quality Journalism in Digital Transition, studies this new journalistic field, the digitisation and challenges. The most important objective of that research is supporting the professional in the performance of their profession. We assume that a modern society without high-quality journalism is unimaginable. There is always a need for reliable and independent information. Such information should be presented in an appealing manner. It must also remain within ethical limits.