Universiteit Leiden

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Applied Linguistics

Journalism and New Media

Conducting research on reliability of journalism and the trust in media.

At LUCL researchers focus on three main themes: Fact-checking, Style of Media and the Future of Local Journalism. JNM is an interdisciplinary field; it includes research from both social sciences and linguistics. 


Peter Burger, Alexander Pleijter and Michaël Opgenhaffen conduct research into fact-checking and, in a broader sense, into the dissemination and combating of disinformation. 

News professionals, researchers and policy makers are increasingly paying more attention to fact-checking. Journalists cite reliable, factual reporting as the most important professional standard, although in practice they do not always live up to this ideal. An increase in competing truth claims or alternative facts made by politicians and apparent in messages on social media has also led to more attention for fact-checking and disinformation.

Current projects in practice:

  • Nieuwscheckers.nl - fact-checking website in the Netherlands 
  • Factcheck.Vlaanderen - fact-checking website in Flanders, Belgium
  • BENEDMO – EU-funded project of Dutch and Flemish knowledge institutes and news organisations to monitor, study and combat disinformation.  
Nieuwscheckers symposium 2019
Nieuwscheckers symposium 2019

Style of Media

Jaap de Jong, Astrid Vandendaele and Michaël Opgenhaffen conduct qualitative and quantitative research into developments of journalistic standards. 

Journalistic standards and working methods in the media are set out in internal and sometimes published media style guidelines. Standards are constantly under review by ombudspersons and editors-in-chief as they respond to a variety of complaints. Common complaints include sloppy, inappropriate and inconsistent language use, lack of inclusivity and diversity in the media, framing, stereotyping, use of single sources, and loose standards in online media. In order to maintain trust and accountability, ombudspersons and editors-in-chief are continuously discussing existing and new standards and recording these in their media style guidelines.  

Future of local and hyperlocal journalism

Jaap de Jong and Willem Koetsenruijter investigate developments in local journalism, paying particular attention to issues such as reliability and trust.  They make evidence-based recommendations on stimulating local journalism and have a special interest in the history and future of journalism in Leiden. 

All around the world, local journalism is struggling. Traditional sources of income are drying up. At the same time, the role of informative, cohesive and critical journalism remains crucial. De Jong and Koetsenruijter have carried out various studies in this field (for the municipality of Leiden, the province of South Holland and the Association of Dutch Municipalities (VNG)) to provide advice on how to stimulate local journalism. The recommendations have led, among other things, to the establishment of a Leiden Media Fund and a Media Fund of the Province of South Holland. The critical function (investigative journalism) and the unifying function (cohesion) of local and hyperlocal journalism are topical and urgent research topics. 

JNM Journalism Seminar Series

The Journalism Studies Seminars bring together researchers from within and beyond the Leiden University Center for Linguistics (LUCL) to discuss research in the interdisciplinary field known as journalism studies. 

The seminars showcase a range of theoretical and methodological approaches that advance our understanding of mediated communication in society and offer speakers an opportunity to share their work beyond their individual department or research group. These seminars and lectures are open to all. Working languages ​​are Dutch and English. 

Would you like to suggest a speaker or are you looking for a forum to discuss your own research, please contact the seminar coordinator Alexander Pleijter

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