Social media are a danger

The European Commission thinks that social media are a danger for negotiations. The online media can cause serious debates with the public.

The European Commission is negotiating about a new agreement about intellectual property. The last agreement they made about this subject, was rejected because of the negative reactions on the social media. Many people were against it because they thought it would restrict the freedom of speech.

I personally don’t think the European Commission should make such a big deal out of it. People have a strong opinion about everything on the social media. Even the smallest things can create a massive debate. For example when there’s a football game on the television, everybody on Twitter is discussing about it. Everybody has the right to have an opinion but that doesn’t mean you always have to listen to that opninions.

On the other hand, this is a very important subject. The freedom of speech cannot be restricted. And in this case The European Commission should listen to the people. But that doesn’t mean that social media are dangerous for negotiations. It are the negotiations that are dangerous for the freedom of speech.


Copyright on the Internet

Next week, I have my French exam. So this weekend, I decided to start preparing the exam. I need to read some pages in a French book: ‘Journalisme en ligne’. And isn’t that convenient? Because if you understand French, you know that I’m reading a book about digital journalism.

More specifically, I need to read the part about copyright. As we all know, citizen journalism has expanded since the arrival of the internet. That’s good because now people can give their opinion. But the down side is, that most professional journalists have a hard time protecting their written content. Some people believe that everything’s possible on the Internet, and that the copyright rules don’t apply on Internet content. Well, think again, because it does.

At school, we had a course last year, named Legislation and ethics. In the course, we learned about copyright and about who can be held responsable for plagiarism. But, in the course, we never spoke about copyright on the Internet

I think it’s important that everybody who writes on Internet makes sure to never copy something without permission. first, it’s unethical, but it’s also a criminal offense. Although, the copyright rules on the Internet are much less strict, I think it’s important to know that you can’t copy content from another person.

While I was reading the part about copyright, I started to think about my own writings on this blog. I tried to remember if I had used content from another journalist or writer. The truth is, I don’t know. When I write the articles for this blog, I mostly write about my own opinion. But that opinion is based on things I read. So, then I was confused. And now, I don’t know if I have broke copywright rules or not. I’m guessing I didn’t, but I’m not sure.

I’ve become aware of the fact that most people think the Internet has no rules, but I think it’s important that people know that rules are everywhere, also on the Internet. You can copy content from another writer, and you can post it on the internet and you may not get punished, but it’s just unethical. Keep that in mind!

Tips & tricks for online journalists, good or bad?

For new journalists who are entering the world of digital journalism, it’s not always easy to just start working with the new media. Therefor, has posted an article  about tips and tricks for newbies entering the field.

Tip 1 – Build your own brand

In the article, they say journalists have to build their own brand, by using social media for example. Peter Bale, vice president and general manager of CNN International Digital, says Twitter is by far the most important source of news now, and it’s about the individual.
But my question now: if journalists will start to build their own brand, will their news coverage still be independent and neutral? In my opinion, it’s very hard to post neutral news when you’re the only one writing and controlling it. When you post an article on your own blog, I believe it will always be coloured with the own thoughts of the journalist. There’s for example no editor in chief who can control the article.

Tip 2 – Be good storytellers, but understand the business

The article states that journalists, of course, need to be good storytellers. But they also have to understand the business and the economy they’re working in. And the journalists need to be able to work with the new technology and the new designs.

Tip 3 – Be a curator

Journalists can be a curator and offer their audience a wider look on the world.

I agree with this tip. Because of the internet and the use of digital journalism, it’s much easier to link to other articles, and so the audience will get more information. And hopefully the audience will learn more and will have a more open look on things.

Tip 4 – Interact with the community

The article here says that journalists often fail to keep contact with their audience online. I agree that it’s often true that online journalists don’t talk with their audience, but I understand it must be very difficult. If an article or a post gets a lot of response, it’s not simple to answer to the needs of the audience. And as I said before, the journalist needs to be carefull with what he says, because actually, he needs to stay neutral.

Tip 5 – Ask questions

Journalists need to be curious and ask questions all the time.


I think it’s a very good article, but I do have my doubts with some of the tips. All the tips are true, but I think the biggest problem with online journalism is that the journalists aren’t being controlled. And I think that will colour their content.



Heb jij het ooit al meegemaakt dat je iemand herkende van hem of haar gezien te hebben op een foto van een van jouw Facebookvrienden? Je kan daar een stapje in verdergaan en er zelf naar op zoek gaan. Op die manier moet een journalist soms ook te werk gaan om iets te weten te komen over iemand. Benieuwd wat ik precies bedoel? Lees verder!

De Amerikaanse komiek Jack Vale deed een sociale-mediaexperiment. Hij zocht een foto op Instagram van een willekeurig persoon dat zich vlak bij hem bevindt. Eenmaal hij een slachtoffer gevonden heeft, verzamelt hij allerlei informatie en stapt hij daarmee op die persoon af. Benieuwd hoe iemand reageert als een volslagen vreemdeling meer over je blijkt te weten dan één van je vriendinnen? Dat filmpje kan je hier bekijken.

In 2011 deed Bart Cannaerts al een gelijkaardig experiment in de Antwerpse Stadsfeestzaal. Hij sprak vreemden aan en deed alsof hij hen kende. Het resultaat zie je hier.

Het meest merkwaardige filmpje is al meer dan tien miljoen keer bekeken, dus misschien heb je het al gezien. Zo niet, dan wil ik het je niet onthouden. Het speelt zich af in een tent in Brussel. Daarin zit een ‘waarzegger’ die alles weet van eender wie binnenkomt, tot het rekeningnummer aan toe…

Social Journalism Study UK 2013

I came accross these UK study results about how social media has an impact on journalism. I was stunned when I read that Twitter is more popular than Facebook for UK journalists, but when I thought it through it’s actually logical. Twitter isn’t very popular when you know that most of the people who know it, don’t use it. But it’s actually very helpful to find the latest news where Facebook is loaded with a lot of uninteresting personal status updates.

An other interesting thing that the study proves, is that UK journalists use social media for up to two hours a day. That’s quite a lot, I believe. 22% use it for 2-4 hours a day and 11% even use it for more than four hours! What I almost can’t believe is that about 4% doesn’t use it at all. I figured that every journalist uses it today, but four out of hundred doesn’t. Weird! The reasons why they don’t use it, are privacy, the regulations from their organisation and online hate or trolling.

92% of the journalists uses Twitter, we already knew that Twitter was popular among UK journalists, but did you also know that they like LinkedIn better than Facebook? 83% uses LinkedIn and 82% Facebook. It’s only one percent, but still!

Not all the journalists use the same social medium, so how do PRs contact journalists? Well, still 90% by e-mail, 58% by telephone (!) and only 19% by social media.

Is social media that important for (UK) journalism as I thought? The answer is clearly “NO!”.

New Belgian news site NewsMonkey

As said before, the printed press is in trouble. Partly because of the decline in advertising revenues. Advertisers are not interested anymore in funding printed press.

Newspapers and journalists need to find new ways to bring their news to the people. A new initiative in Belgium shows us how we can change our ways of news gathering. is a new project by Mick Van Loon, Wouter Verschelden and Patrick Van Waeyenberge, and supported by several Belgian journalists, who ‘lives to the rhythm of the web and social media‘. It’s a news site who hopes to survive by crowdfunding. The site looks for small shareholders. Starting from 50 euros, you can become a co-owner.

The site’s goal is to strengthen their bond between journalists and news readers. They have promised to keep their content free. Everyone who’s interested can access the content of the site.

Newspapers need to change their way of working

Het Mediahuis, the joint venture between two big Belgian mediagroups (Corelio and Concentra) is in trouble. 205 jobs will disappear. This news shows us once again, how much the printed press is in trouble.

Het Mediahuis owns two big national newspapers, Het Nieuwsblad and De Standaard, and two big regional dailies: De Gazet van Antwerpen and Het Belang van Limburg.

The downturn is necessary, but I believe Het Mediahuis needs to change some other things.

First of all, the four newspapers have an online website that is accessible to everyone. Everyone who is interested in news, can go to the website and has free access to the content. I believe that if the newspapers want to stay strong, they will have to change their site. I am, for example, in favor of a paywall. But… I myself search and read articles on the site of Het Nieuwsblad. I never buy the actual paper. Why?
Well, I am in favor of a paywall, if the content on the site is different from the content in the printed version of the paper. Now, all the articles are the same, so I don’t think it’s necessary to buy the newspaper.

I believe the newspapers have to add more interactivity to their websites, and more in-depth content to the printed version. Only then, I believe a paywall will work, and the printed paper will stay strong. The focus in the printed version needs to be on opinion, analysis and real-life stories. The websites just need to give the breaking news, and more interactivity. I would like to see some more pictures and video reportages on the sites.I would also like to see that social media gets more involved. Now, you can ‘like’ an article, but it would be nice if you could comment on the article via facebook, post and share the article on other social media and that you can talk to the journalists via social media. People want their opinion to be heard, and I think newspapers should use social media to interact more.

An added advantage could be that if the newspapers will add more video reportages to their website, they can hire some real video journalists. Journalists who are trained in video news coverage. So the newspaper staff will be more varied, and so there will be more varied ideas and opinions, which I believe will add to the quality of the content.

The above stated ideas are my opinion. I am of course not an expert, I am just a journalism student. But, I am strongly convinced that today’s newspapers will not survive unless they change their way of working on the websites.