It’s become the most frequently asked question among our readers: “Why are you journalists always so negative?” It’s not even a question, but an accusation. And we don’t just hear it from readers – I also get it from friends, and even from my daughters.
We might respond by saying something like, “It’s not our fault that Russia invaded Ukraine or that transgressive behaviour is an important topic right now,” pointing out that as journalists it’s simply our job to report on these things. But that type of answer is no longer cutting it. It appears that our audience is growing tired of the moralising they sometimes perceive in our reporting.
You can see what that leads to on NU.nl. Every day, some 10,000 unique users post a total of 25,000 comments on the discussion platform NUjij. A lot of these posts contain questions, and every day the editors of NU.nl use at least one of those questions – often one that is asked a lot – to create a new article or explainer. VTM Nieuws has long been asking viewers to share their thoughts, indebted as it is to its motto, ‘We are here for you’. Our regional editions in the Netherlands and Flanders are now following suit. They’re calling on readers to speak their minds or suggest solutions to local problems.
We’re listening to our audience. Doing so helps us improve our publications as well our journalists, without losing sight of our sacred mission: to report the news.