Why can’t student societies leave me alone?

In the Netherlands there is a distinction between student associations (studievereniging) and student societies (studentenverenigingen). Where the first is a designation for an association of students who study the same subject at the same university, the latter’s definitions is broader and more intense: a society where the members are students, who in most cases live in the same house, and participate in mandatory activities. News about these student societies keep popping up in the media, they have become controversial. Especially since 2016, when the student society Vindicat was involved in scandals of sexual intimidation and physical abuse, every new bit of information about the societies becomes a self-contained news item.

In the newspaper NRC Handelsblad alone, in 2016 and 2017 131 articles were written about news, information, stories and rumors on student societies. Compare this to a total of 13 articles on student associations in the same newspaper, same years.

Articles about student societies that appeared in the NRC Handelsblad. Highest amount in 2016: 78 articles

Articles about student societies that appeared in the NRC Handelsblad. Highest amount in 2006: 13 articles

I am subscribed to NRC Handelsblad, and I’m wondering why I have to keep reading about all the updates on this subject.

Galtung and Ruge (1965) explain in their article how events become news. They introduce different criteria, or news values (1965: 65). One of these news values is so called continuity, specified in ‘What Is News? Galtung and Ruge revisited’ (Harcup & O’Neill, 2010). When a certain subject has become a headline, the item will continue to be newsworthy. Why? Because the information will be easier to understand and to interpret.

As for me, this subject has been exploited enough for the last two years. Instead of providing new interesting, grounbraking information, news on this subject has become a mediahype. Let’s come up with a new headliner, let’s pick on someting else.


Sozan Toksöz


Galtung, Johan and Mari Holmboe Ruge. “The Structure of Foreign News.” Journal of Peace Research 2.1 (1965): 64-91. Print.

Harcup, Tony and Deirdre O’Neill. “What Is News? Galtung and Ruge revisited.” Journalism Studies 2.2 (2001): 261-280. Print.

NRC Handelsblad, 2016. Slachtoffervontgroening vindicat doet alsnog aangifte.

NRC Handelsblad, 2016. De bangalijst van vindicat.

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