Convergence at Dutch Regional Newspapers: An Explorative Study

Authors Dr. Piet Bakker , Marco van Kerkhoven
Published in Proceedings of the ECREA Journalism Studies Section and 26th International Conference of Communication (CICOM)
Publication date 2011
Research groups Quality Journalism in Digital Transition
Type Lecture

Summary

Regional news media are facing tough times, as they lose readers and advertisers rapidly. In The Netherlands, circulation decreased from 2.7 million in 1990 to 1.8 million in 2010, household penetration declined from 47 percent to 25 percent, and the number of titles went down from 35 to 18 in the same period. We interviewed managers and executives (2009 - 2010) of nine of the eighteen regional newspapers in The Netherlands, to analyse if and how they consider convergence (the transition to an integrated newsroom) a significant option to regain readers and advertisers. This study is part of a research project on the potential (long-term) consequences of convergence for the organizational structure, the work procedures, journalistic quality, and business models of regional news media. Our first results show that convergence is, indeed, embraced as a solution. However, views on how to approach the new market for online news through an integrated newsroom differ significantly. Management tends to operate safely, experimenting with small projects that can be discontinued easily, while editors and journalists on the work floor wish to invest heavily in both the education of employees and technical convergence on a more structural basis. In its examination of how convergence is strategically and operationally changing regional media in The Netherlands this study is the first of its kind.

Language English
Published in Proceedings of the ECREA Journalism Studies Section and 26th International Conference of Communication (CICOM)
Key words journalistiek
Page range 378-389

Quality journalism in Digital Transition