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Press release: Grant from “Stimuleringsfonds Voor De Pers” for research on Participatory Journalism

 

The Board of the “Stimuleringsfonds Voor De Pers” has approved on the 16th of July 2009 to co-finance researchers from the VU University Amsterdam and the Hogeschool Windesheim Zwolle for their “Rethinking the value of Journalism in the Digital Age” venture in the form of an allowance of up to € 139,000, -. The research project will be led by Irene Costera Meijer, Professor of Journalism at the VU University Amsterdam and lecturer Media & Civil Society at Hogeschool Windesheim Zwolle.

 

This research focuses on the rise and history of Participatory Journalism, i.e. journalistic practices wherein citizens participate in a professional journalistic framework. To understand this relatively new phenomenon, first the development of participatory journalism as a (digital) genre with its own rules and typical journalistic products will be examined. Secondly, the development of participatory journalism as a social practice, which includes some citizens and journalists, but excludes others, will be discussed.

 

The project aims to answer the question weather participatory journalism forms an alternative source of information, which can contribute to the quality of democracy and the quality of journalism. There is time and space allowed within the different stages of the project for the discussion of the interim research results with the journalistic practices through annual research reports and workshops.

 

The decision for this grant is based on Article 8.15 of the Dutch Media Law, which allows to provide funding for research for the needs of the press industry as a whole, as far as the research fits in with the objectives of the Stimuleringsfonds. The “Stimuleringsfonds Voor De Pers” has recommended in previous opinions that more (research) information about journalistic practises should be available. In such a way more insight could be achieved into how the press works, as well as how journalistic training and education should/could respond to emerging deficits. According to the “Stimuleringsfonds Voor De Pers” it is the government’s obligation to shape the framework for the public debate on this topic. The provision of funds for the study and research in this area contributes to that task. The subject of this research is moreover relevant to the public policy, where the focus is on fostering innovation in the industry. We believe this research will benefit the industry and it fits within the objectives of the “Stimuleringsfonds Voor De Pers”.