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Journalism has changed. Countless reasons why you as an arts journalist can be at the forefront.

Once upon a time, people had a newspaper. In the newsroom, a few people knew why people had a newspaper. But it was a fact of life. People had a newspaper. Those who did not have a newspaper were not human beings. Nowadays, people don't have a newspaper. They have the internet. Those who don't have the internet are retarded.

The newspaper was filled by journalists and paid for by advertisers. Anyone who wanted to get into the paper had to know other journalists, be very good at writing, sleep with the editor-in-chief or have good contacts. Once you were in the paper, little could happen as long as the paper grew.

The Internet is full of writing, filming, photography and talk by everyone. At least: 3 per cent of everyone. Because as with all media, 3 per cent of the users determine 99 per cent of the content. If you want to be among that 3 per cent as a journalist, writing, photographing, filming and talking a lot is not enough. Then, in the end, you won't survive for long. Those who want to make a living have to start asking themselves what their audience is, and what that audience actually wants. Newspapers never actually had to do that, back when print runs were rising. Before there was the internet.

Why do people go to the internet?

People go to the internet because they are looking for answers. To very ordinary, or very weirder questions. And the internet user also wants those answers quickly, because no time, and too much choice.


Those who want to make money from their knowledge and enthusiasm on the internet will have to provide answers, to questions that may not be asked now, but that you can expect to be asked. But you can also answer questions that you know have been around for a long time, but have never been adequately answered. Especially in art, there are lots of those.

Which questions are relevant?

So that's what it's all about: relevance. To gain some weight, the internet journalist has to look for questions that resonate with a target audience that is interesting enough: authoritative, numerous, wealthy, with an interesting network. All things that every entrepreneur has to ask: who wants my stuff, and do they have money to do so, in any way?

With us, the latter question is only relevant when it comes to supporter and member recruitment. The stories themselves are free. But the greater our reach, the greater and more relevant the number of people who appreciate our answers, the more people also begin to see the importance of our existence. With an average of 20,000 visitors a month, now, we already represent a lot. With double that, we have become a serious player.

So we need to know which questions are relevant for us to answer. An attempt at selection, in no particular order:

Where should I go?

What is happening?

But what was it really like?

What is it really about?

Who is doing it with whom?

Why does that happen?

Why is nothing happening?

What does it suggest?

Who is important?

Why does this artist/politician/street vendor say that?

What should I look out for?

What should I look out for?

Who is ...?

What is ...?

What's to smile about?

What's to cry about?

What does such and such mean?

What do you actually think?

You can add your own hierarchy to this list. You can also add to the list. Some questions are also less relevant to our platform and knowledge. Simple questions like "where should I go?", for instance, require a link to a calendar and a database, and we don't have the resources for that. Moreover, we are not an app that people consult every day, but a news bank that contains an archive of answers, and in the current news streams of twitter and facebook provides new answers to questions that are apparently alive. The very last question in the list, for example, is one of those that I know resonates with many of my followers. It will be the same in your case. Then it's about whether my followers are interesting enough to also base a revenue model on.

So the questions we have. How to answer?

The answers you give are as they should be: quick, simple and clear. To the question "where should I go?" the answer is "that's where you should go, and here's why.

This way, a clear answer can be given to every question, even if multiple answers to a question are possible. Because that is the crux: ambiguity, depth and narrative talents are not lost in this approach. Indeed, you are more likely to entice people to join you in your ambiguity and depth by telling them clearly. And if you have a compelling, immersive writing story, it only enhances the experience for the reader (read: customer, read: funder).

There we go again soon a few workshops to it.

I'm curious about your ideas right now. Think about it quietly when you are watering the garden, lying on a beach, or hiking through the mountains.

1 thought on “De journalistiek is veranderd. Talloze redenen waarom jij als kunstjournalist vooraan kunt lopen.”

  1. Dear Wijbrand and others,

    I am an editor. On my blog Dada 2.0 (see above), I try to look at the world differently. I am looking for a new adult journalism that gives people ideas but also raises new questions. So that requires an active attitude from fellow surfers.
    The blog is now up and running. If you enjoy it, I'd love to hear what tips you have for me to reach a larger audience. Perhaps I can then write something for you from time to time.
    Like to hear your reaction
    Guido van den Heuvel

Comments are closed.

Wijbrand Schaap

Cultural journalist since 1996. Worked as theatre critic, columnist and reporter for Algemeen Dagblad, Utrechts Nieuwsblad, Rotterdams Dagblad, Parool and regional newspapers through Associated Press Services. Interviews for TheaterMaker, Theatererkrant Magazine, Ons Erfdeel, Boekman. Podcast maker, likes to experiment with new media. Culture Press is called the brainchild I gave birth to in 2009. Life partner of Suzanne Brink roommate of Edje, Fonzie and Rufus. Search and find me on Mastodon.View Author posts

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