New research project

Recently we (Liesbeth Hermans, Alexander Pleijter and yours truly) received a grant from the Dutch Press Foundation to do a survey on journalists use of the Internet, ethics, professional values and related topics. Especially for this project I put a website on the Net: (Journalists in the digital age). Yes, it’s a Dutch website. However, the most important information on the project will also be published in English.
We hope to have the first results published late 2010 or early 2010. This will be quite exciting. The new data collection allows for longitudinal comparisons of journalists in 2000, 2006 and 2010. Since 2000 (the data were collected by Mark Deuze for his dissertation) journalism has changed a lot. Or to be precise: the context in which journalists do their job has changed drastically. The Internet is omnipresent, newspapers are increasingly losing subscribers. Whether journalists changed as well in these changing environments is not fully clear yet. However, we have already seen some shifts in the importance of different professional values. Also, their activities must have changed quite drastically, given the many blogs newspapers and news programs publish.

To stay up-to-date, go to

To see similar studies we did some time ago, see the following publications:

  • Hermans, L., Vergeer, M., &  d’Haenens, L. (2009). Internet in the daily life of journalists. Explaining the use of the Internet through work-related characteristics and professional opinions. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 15, 138-157.
  • Hermans, L., Vergeer, M., & Pleijter, A. (2009). Internet adoption in the newsroom: Journalists’ use of the Internet explained by attitudes and perceived functions. Communications. The European Journal of Communication, 34 (1), 55-71.

    it’s almost like Christmas

    Two chapters I co-authored were published in a book this week. The first one (Vergeer, Coenders  & Scheepers, 2009) focuses on explaining the time people spend on watching TV. The interesting point about this study that explanations are not only sought at the individual level (especially in terms of alternative ways to spend time) but also at the level of the television system (i.e. tv program diversity, number of commercial and PSB channels, the budget). The study uses multi level analysis to test the hypotheses. Here is the abstract:

    This study aims to explain the variation in time spent on watching television in 15 European Union countries, using determinants defined at the individual level, and characteristics defined at the national level, such as the number of channels and nature of the television supply. The results of the multi-level analysis show that the number of channels in countries has no effect on time spent on television. Yet, the more diverse the program supply on public broadcasting channels in different countries, the less time people spend on watching television. However, this relation decreases when more commercial channels are available to watch. This suggests that EU citizens, having commercial channels as alternatives, avoid a diverse program supply in favor of commercial program supply.

    The second chapter Westerik, Hollander, Verschuren & Vergeer, 2009) in the same volume, deals with community involvement and media use.

    Full references:

  • Vergeer, M., Coenders, M. & Scheepers, P. (2009). Time spent on television in European countries. In R.P. Konig, P.W.M. Nelissen, & F.J.M. Huysmans (Eds.), Meaningful media: Communication Research on the Social Construction of Reality (54-73). Nijmegen, The Netherlands: Tandem Felix.
  • Westerik, H., Hollander, E., Verschuren, P. J. M., & Vergeer, M. (2009). Media use and community involvement: A theoretical and meta-analytical review. In R. P. Konig, P. W. M. Nelissen, & F. J. M. Huysmans (Eds.), Meaningful media: Communication research on the social construction of reality (pp. 38-53). Nijmegen, The Netherlands: Tandem Felix.

    Google redressed

    Well, here are two screen-shots from today’s Google search pages.


    The first one is the one that is available in all countries: the virgin white screen which offers some more options the moment you use the mouse or the keyboard. It’s the Google as we know it.

    However, as we know, Google has some problems to get a strong foothold in South Korea: its 2.2% share on the search engine market is somewhat disappointing. Therefore Google Korea decided to localize the search engine’s homepage. In doing so they try to create a more viable portal for Koreans to start their journey onto the web.


    Wait a minute, I’ve heard this before. Remember when MTV was putting out the same show in all countries? It was successful for some time. But then competition increased. The next thing all countries started to develop their localized versions of MTV: local presenters, native language and local performers. This move seemed quite successful to retain a large local audience.

    This shows that, in the world of global media, local cultures are still quite persistent. A comforting thought… The question is when Google will follow Korea’s example in other countries.