Journalists in the Netherlands: An Analysis of the People, the Issues and the International Environment

Article excerpt

Journalists in the Netherlands: An Analysis of the People, the Issues and the International Environment. Mark Deuze. Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2002. 224 pp. $34.95 pbk.

Although the purpose of this book is to paint a picture of journalists and journalism in the Netherlands, readers in the United States, Europe, Australia, and Latin America will find many of the author's findings relevant and useful. The book's relevance to an "outside" professional and academic audience is mainly due to Deuze's decision to go beyond reporting the results of a general, national survey of journalists' attitudes-which has been done in the past with mixed results by some of the studies he draws from-to include a thoughtful and well-balanced discussion of some of the most important issues facing journalists worldwide.

Those issues-technological advances (the Internet and the widespread use of computers), infotainment (which he groups with concentration of media ownership), and multiculturalism-end up being the focus of much of the book, which makes it such an interesting read for people not familiar with the history and characteristics of Dutch mass media.

Initially, I was a little put off by a very long first chapter, but this introduction turned out to be the backbone (and a comprehensive discussion) of both the book's focus and Deuze's main arguments. The chapter, ambitiously but aptly titled "An Introduction to the Problem of Journalism," extensively maps out a "shared worldwide understanding of what journalism is," from the perspective of both journalism academics and journalists themselves. This quasi-universal journalistic ideology, as well as journalists' self-defined "occupational ideology," would include things such as (1) a desire for freedom and independence; (2) having and using news judgment; (3) providing a public service; (4) being neutral or objective; (5) being accurate; and (6) being ethical. The first chapter also discusses in detail why Deuze correctly chose to focus on the Internet, infotainment, and multiculturalism as some of the main issues facing journalists today.

The second chapter, "Concept and Method of Journalism Studies," contextualizes Deuze's research project by presenting the methodologies and results of previous studies and journalism surveys (including, most notably, Weaver and Wilhoit's 1991 and 1996 U.S.-based profiles). The chapter also explains how samples were drawn from the larger universe and how the questionnaire and other methodologies were adapted and applied (a total of 773 interviews with Dutch journalists were conducted by Deuze between September 1999 and February 2000).

In the following chapter, the author presents the results of the interviews and compares his data to those collected in previous projects in Australia, Germany, Great Britain, and the United States. …

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