Sanne Rotmeijer: Media in the Dutch Antilles: Identities, Politics, and Change

Sanne Rotmeijer, MA | Leiden University | Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV) | Supervisors: Prof. dr. G.J. (Gert) Oostindie & Prof. dr. J. C. (Jaap) de Jong | December 2014 – December 2018 | rotmeijer[at]KITLV[dot]nl

This research focuses on how traditional and new ‘Dutch’ Caribbean media reflect and shape discourses of (trans)national identities in the context of the ambivalent dynamics of non-sovereignty. Towards, around and in the aftermath of the official dismantlement of the Netherlands Antilles – the political construction that had held five of the ‘Dutch’ Caribbean islands constitutionally together- on 10-10-10, debates on ‘us’ versus ‘them’ nurtured by politics of national positioning and (presumed) shared national identities have become more powerful. Ongoing migration to and from the islands, moreover, have made discourses of national identity more complicated. ‘Dutch’ Caribbean media play a quintessential role in reflecting and shaping these discourses. Considering the small-scale island populations and the potential area of distribution, the ‘Dutch’ Caribbean media landscape is widespread, highly diverse and multi-lingual (Papiamentu, Dutch and English representing the most important languages). Established media institutions, with newspapers being the most popular, are traditionally successful in the region. However, they also face challenges related to the small-scale of the islands. First, most media are politically affiliated or government-owned. Second, they tend to be economically dependent on sponsors and donors. And third, the islands lack trained and professional journalists. The emergence of new media, particularly the fast growing Caribbean blogosphere and islanders’ Facebook use, may meet up to some of these challenges by providing new spaces for bottom-up, peripheral voices and for younger generations and diaspora communities to participate in mediatized (trans)national identity constructions. Through a Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) from a Discourse-Historical Approach (DHA), this research aims to analyze ‘Dutch’ Caribbean media texts in light of the ambivalent dynamics of non-sovereignty, conduct ethnographic fieldwork at three ‘Dutch’ Caribbean newspapers as well as online participating in bloggers networks and Facebook communities, and explain findings drawing on insights from cultural media studies, postcolonial and political theory, and Caribbean studies. Insights contribute to a better understanding of the role of media during political change in small-scale societies, and the variety of complex political processes through which (trans)national identities are constructed in times of postcolonialism, globalization and digitalization.

Keywords: Dutch Caribbean, (new and social) media, (trans)national identities, diaspora, critical discourse analysis; discourse-historical approach, postcolonialism, cultural media studies, political theory



Tim Groot Kormelink: The New News Consumer: Storytelling

Tim Groot Kormelink | VU University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Journalism | Supervisor: Irene Costera Meijer | December 2013 – December 2018 | t[dot]grootkormelink[at]vu[dot]nl

My research is part of the project The New News Consumer: User-Based Innovation to Meet Paradigmatic Change in News Use and Media Habits. The central question that drives this project is: how does digitalization enable and inhibit novel news habits and patterns of media use, and how can journalism institutions develop services and offer their information in a way that fits optimally with changing user preferences and practices? In particular, my research is concerned with storytelling and the ways users value and experience different narrative forms of journalism. Experimental research suggests that employing a narrative (i.e., telling a story) enhances enjoyment and understanding of news (e.g., Knobloch et al., 2004; Machill et al., 2007; Yaros, 2006), but less is known about how users value and experience different ways of telling the news in the context of their everyday life. Using a variety of (mostly qualitative) methods, including in-depth interviews, diaries, and sensory ethnography, this project aims to explore how users can be served by journalism in ways which do justice to reality in all its complexity.

Cara Brems: Journalism of Connectivity. How Social Media affect journalism practice, news coverage and public participation in the Netherlands and Flanders.

Cara Brems  | University of Groningen & Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Department of Media and Journalism Studies (RUG) and TTKA – Brussels Institute for Journalism Studies (VUB) | Supervisors: Marcel Broersma (RUG) & Martina Temmerman (VUB) | 01 November 2013 – 01 November 2017 | c[dot]brems[at]rug[dot]nl & cara[dot]brems[at]vub[dot]ac[dot]be

The introduction of Web 2.0 technologies has fundamentally changed the ways in which we communicate with each other. People are increasingly expressing themselves, interacting with others and sharing information via social media and (micro)blogs. This notable shift has also affected the ways in which news is made and delivered to the audience.

In this project I study the impact of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook on journalism practice: How does this affect news coverage in the Netherlands and Flanders? By comparing the practices of Dutch and Flemish reporters, I want to learn how they integrate social media in their daily news gathering routines and how these platforms impact their professional identity.

Furthermore I focus on the ways journalists and news organizations use social media in their news texts and publishing strategies; and how social media impact the content and form of news and information dissemination. By using a mixed methods approach and by concentrating on specific case studies, this project aims to learn more about the way journalism is shifting from a mass media to a network communication paradigm.

Nicky van Es: Locating Imagination. An Interdisciplinairy Perspective on Literary, Film and Music Tourism

Nicky van Es | Erasmus University Rotterdam Faculty & Department: Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC); Arts & Culture Department | Supervisor: dr. Stijn Reijnders  | 01 February 2013 – 1 February 17 | vanes[at]eshcc[dot]eur[dot]nl

Description research topic: Within the broader “Locating Imagination”-project, I particularly study the phenomenon of literary tourism – the phenomenon of people visiting places associated with popular works of fiction and/or their authors. In mainly addopting an ethnographical approach towards studying contemporary manifestations of literary tourism, the underlying aims of this project are to gain further insights on the diverse range of motivations, experiences and meanings attached to this practice by tourists themselves. Overall, the project is aimed towards providing an explanation for the increasing popularity of this phenomenon through stressing the importance of both reading and writing literature in the experience of place in a postmodern context. For using a picture, I assume you can use the one displayed on my homepage of my university (, though I am not entirely sure to what extent this picture is free of copyrights. Should you require any additional information or have any further questions, please do not hesistate to let me know as well!

Joëlle Swart: The New News Consumer: Public Connection in the Digital Age

Joëlle Swart | University of Groningen, Centre for Media and Journalism Studies | prof. dr. Marcel Broersma & dr. Chris Peters | 1 December 2013 until 1 December 2017 | j[dot]a[dot]c[dot]swart[at]rug[dot]nl

In this digitalized world, news users have an almost unlimited access to news and information. Rather than a mass press that decides what audiences need to know, the user is in control of how, where and when he or she consumes the news. At the same time, news organizations are having difficulties to adapt to these changing audience demands. Despite heavy investment from the news industry, news organizations struggle with declining newspaper circulations and television viewer ratings, raising the question how journalism can preserve its democratic function of connecting news consumers to public issues and preparing them for civic engagement. This PhD project focuses on the question how digitalization can facilitate new forms of ‘public connection’ (Couldry et al., 2007) and civic engagement. Previous research suggests that news consumers still feel a need to orient themselves to public issues (e.g. Heikkilä et al., 2010). If so, what are the means and avenues by which such public connection occurs? What is the democratic and civic potential of new forms of engagement with news, such as commenting, liking and social network sharing for public connection? And how can news media best support such public connection? Using a mixed-method approach, this project aims to map current patterns of news consumption and public connection, in order to help news organizations to preserve its democratic function and increase their relevance in news consumers’ everyday lives.


  • Couldry, N., Livingstone, S. M., & Markham, T. (2007). Media consumption and public engagement. Beyond the presumption of attention. London: Palgrave.
  • Heikkilä, H., Kunelius, R., & Ahva, L. (2010). From credibility to relevance. Towards a sociology of journalism’s “added value”. Journalism Practice, 4(3), 274-284.