A correspondent’s blog on reporting from Amsterdam

Does Dutch compromise mentality border censorship in journalism?

Does Dutch compromise mentality border censorship in journalism?

It is a common request by the large majority of interviewees in The Netherlands: “Can I see the article before you publish?”  Foreign correspondents in the country struggle with this, while national journalists happily obey. It’s a cultural conflict, no doubt. The country is run by what is called the...
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The curious case of BBC and Angelina Jolie’s double mastectomy

The curious case of BBC and Angelina Jolie’s double mastectomy

A standing ovation for Angelina Jolie’s courage in coming publicly forward with her decision to undergo a double mastectomy. Surely, it wasn’t an easy step to take and her openness about it will certainly inspire many women across the globe. But let’s take a short pause here and ask ourselves why this tale featured as...
Dutch Press Officers: Sorry, National Media Only

Dutch Press Officers: Sorry, National Media Only

Correspondents have it hard. Finding stories that can hit a chord with foreign audiences isn’t an easy task. Sometimes, it’s not even the story, it’s just the Foreign Desk’s budget that is too short: so editors need to be picky when choosing for which report they’ll pay.
The case of El País & Chavez’s wrong picture

The case of El País & Chavez’s wrong picture

Spanish prestigious newspaper El País had a case of bad judgment when it published an unverified photo of an ill man believed to be Venezuela’s president Hugo Chávez. The head of state is currently in a Cuban hospital to treat his cancer.
If Clark Kent is not putting up with it anymore, why should we?

If Clark Kent is not putting up with it anymore, why should we?

Superman’s alter ego Clark Kent is quitting his job as a reporter at the Daily Planet. He is fed up with ‘soft’ news and wants to do ‘real’ journalism. It is therefore ironic that a multitude of newspapers and journalists picked up on the infotainment story and reported on a fictional character as if Kent’s...
The Dutch didn't vote for EU: How world media got it wrong

The Dutch didn’t vote for EU: How world media got it wrong

As the first results of the Dutch general election came through worldwide media began reporting on a win for Europe. The Dutch chose to cast their votes on the liberal VVD and Labour PvdA parties. Their neck and neck race has led their leaders to lock themselves behind close doors and negotiate a way for...
Press expelled from MP Geert Wilders political party

Press expelled from MP Geert Wilders political party

A reporter for the Dutch TV programme PowNews was shown the door out of the café where Geert Wilders’ (anti-Islam and anti-EU) Freedom Party supporters gathered for the election night. Jan Versteegh and his cameraman were taken by security after they were told they were posing “unwelcome questions” (sic). Moments before they were expelled Versteegh...
Parachute journalism

Parachute journalism

An article by New York Times’ Steven Erlanger got some Dutch readers raising a few eyebrows when he described them as seemingly ‘melancholy and sedate’. Erlanger wrote about the atmosphere in the country just days before it elected a new parliament. Melancholy and sedate don’t seem to be words that fit well with the Dutch....
RNW: End of an era

RNW: End of an era

For decades radio world services have broadcast to its citizens scattered around the globe so that they could listen to the news in their own language and not miss out on those important stories from back home. Simultaneously, these services focussed on areas of the world where media repression or armed conflict prevented balanced intakes...
Reporting live from the comfort of home

Reporting live from the comfort of home

Reporting on international courts has become more of a television club attended by journalists than a media coverage. Dozens of broadcasting vans are parked outside the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague area. Media from all over the world has flown in to cover one of the most gripping international cases: Charles Taylor’s...
Say what?

Say what?

Elections seem to have a special effect on producers. For the next 24 hours they will be working around the clock under a sort of spell which urges them to feel whatever result was achieved it will mean dramatic change. As if the rest of the problems in the rest of the world were nothing...
Who are you Jackie?!

Who are you Jackie?!

A recent controversy between the Dutch glossy magazine Jackie and singer Rihanna has raised once more, in my opinion, a rather important question: how much of a statement should journalism make? Jackie’s  most recent issue featured an article about how to dress like Rihanna. It was titled ‘De Niggabitch’. The Barbadian music star wasn’t amused and took it to...
Public television = propaganda machine?

Public television = propaganda machine?

A new report on the future of the Portuguese public television RTP suggests all information from that broadcaster’s international service should be filtered by the government. The person responsible for the study João Duque says the promotion of Portugal’s image abroad should be within the “vision of an external policy” under the guidance of the...