“De correspondent” — Awesomeness and mainly white males

Recently a new Dutch journalistic initiative has started called “De correspondent“.

As I hardly read newspapers I do not exactly know where the current team originates, but I think I recognize people writing for NRC.next.

I think most if not all are writing opiniated pieces.

The current site is a call for action. They need 15 000 donations x 60 euro, meaning a total of 900 000 euro to get this thing started.


In one word: awesome! Fuck paper. Save money. Get money via donations. Pay the journalists.

It is a very valid business model. We have doing the same for newspapers: donate our money so we can get a pack of printed paper on a daily or weekly basis. Who cares it is on internet now or whatever. Our continuing donations, our funding, warrants people can actually get paid to do their work.

I do not know the exact business model, but I imagined this:

  1. Freelancers — Treated and pay each writer as a freelancer, doing 2 or 3 other clients on the side
  2. Have a good accountant/bookkeeper — Around the first 20 000 euro of income can (still) be free of tax if you have a proper bookkeeper/accountant. Enough to pay the rent, buy proper food and a weekly restaurant visit with the partner.
  3. Start with 15 000 to 30 000 per writer — Each writer can do with an income of about 15 000 to 30 000 per year, pay the basic bills, feel good.
  4. Start with 30 to 60 writers — Depending on how much you can and want to pay. 30 000 per year? 15 000?
  5. Start with a low-cost office — Volkskrantgebouw, old ABN Amro building at Vijzelstraat. Who needs an indoor something something luxerious / pretentious anyway?
  6. Expand — 15 000 supporters x 60 euro is a start. Up it to 30 000 and 60 000 in the years to come. Increase the pay-per-wordage. More writers! More revenue! Happiness!


But where are the women? Why only white people?

I was about to donate 60 euros when I realized something.

Where are the women? Of 13 people now listed and announced on the site, only 1 is female: Femke Halsema. 12 people are male and all of them white. I have no clue of their backgrounds and how they represent the different classes in the Netherlands. Are there among these writers people from families of workers? Is there one or more from a family with money? Deeply religious? Completely non-religious? Gay? Bisexual? Asexual?

Why do I not see writers from Surinam, Turkish, Indonesian, Chinese, Moroccan, Russian, Thai and other backgrounds? Muslim, Catholic, Reformed, nothing, scientific? Polygamous, bi-gender, transsexual?

How can you deliver a critical view on the news when your main team is so one-sided? Representing only one specific flavor of the Dutch population? How can I trust you to be multi-faceted? Who will you consult when it does not cover Dutch stuff and Dutch culture? Who will call “Stop! Rethink! Research! Find more sources! You are crossing a line here” when someone is addressing a subject he or she has no personal experience with?


On my question: “maybe a bit more representative?” I received a “yes” and a link to this post.

It is kind of a FAQ, responding to 7 questions.

The first question can be roughly translated to: “Will there be more women in the team?”

The answer comes down to: “For sure. Coincidently most people we approached in the past period are female. The ones who could already commit beforehand are mostly the more know people. The Correspondent is mostly a platform for journalistic talent, where gender and age is less relevant than originality and quality.”

So still open is: what all these sub-groups of the Dutch population, mentioned above?

The masturbatory aspect of a single flavor of people

Dutch media has the tendency to be masturbatory. It is mostly about white people with white opinions from a safe and mostly white place. With a mostly white and male team, nobody within that team will really challenge the mostly white and male view of that team.

While this might feel safe in some senses, it is just adding more biased views to an already biased world.

Go to places like AT5 and Salto and whatever and something. Mine those places. Reach out. Invite. Sit together. Talk. (If you did not already do this, folks!) Go out and find reporters and writers that challenge you. Who understand what is living in THEIR communities. Who have a deeper and more immediate understanding of culture-specific mechanisms from the inside out.

And fuck “political correctness”. This is about news and opinions and adding new voices and new views. This is about the Netherlands no longer living in 1951 where everyone is white.

Don’t become a second Volkskrant or worse: the leftish “intellectual” version of geenstijl.nl.


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