The Research That Hasn’t Been Done (Week 7: Researching Media Production)

The lack of diversity in Dutch news rooms has been a point of discussion for decades. The average journalist is supposedly a white, highly educated male who has a centre-left political preference. Ethnic minorities, women, people who had lower education than university and right-wing people are hardly represented in the newsrooms. You can read it everywhere. In 2014, Deuze said in an interview with Trouw that there are “not enough clashes” in newsrooms, because the journalists all have a similar socio-economic background and share the same values. Earlier this year, Klaske Tamerling told Red that there is still characterized by a “male culture” and that women are “scarce” in media management.

There’s an issue, however. The socio-economic characteristics and political preferences of Dutch journalists have not been the subject of extensive research for a while now. Neither are there any recent, hard numbers of the male-female ratio in newsrooms. In 2015, NRC discovered that only 3 per cent of the editorial workers at NOS, RTL Nieuws, and several Dutch newspapers had a non-western background: that’s something we know. But apart from that, we don’t know much about the journalists working for these media now. The research in which Deuze extensively showed the homogeneous characteristics of news rooms in the Netherlands (most journalists being white, male etc.), dates back from the time when the Dutch still paid with the florin.

Why is nobody researching this topic anymore? Are journalists afraid to undermine their own profession, while academics are simply not interested enough to find out? I mean, the relevance of this topic in media production can’t be denied, so somebody should study it. Maybe I should start reading Dencombre’s “Good Research Guide” and go find things out myself.

Pien Goutier


Denscombe, Martyn. The good research guide: for small-scale social research projects. McGraw-Hill Education (UK), 2014.



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