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Learning to deal with ‘We know about the lies in the media’

Alongside studying for his Master's degree in Media and Journalism, English Language and Culture graduate Daan Koopen works for the regional news channel Unity. In early 2020, Daan took part in the Job Market Survey which was conducted among Humanities graduates, and he had his eye on one of the three prizes. And he won. When he went to collect his prize, we asked him all about his career to date. ‘I also voluntarily work extra hours at the editorial department.’

‘I took part in the Job Market Survey because I wanted to be in with a chance of winning one of the prizes,’ Daan admits straight away. And his strategy paid off. On Monday 14 September, as one of the three prize winners, he was presented with gift vouchers worth €250 by Loes Nordlohne, career adviser at the Faculty of Humanities.

How is his career progressing?

Daan, 24 years old, did his Bachelor’s degree in English Language and Culture at Leiden University. Besides studying for his Master’s degree in Media and Journalism, he now also works as a political reporter at Unity; he covers the Leiderdorp and Zoeterwoude council meetings. ‘The councillors’ commitment to their communities amazes me. From a 19-year-old to an elderly woman in the senior citizens’ party. I’m fascinated by regional politics.’ During the farmers’ protest this spring he witnessed the impact of national politics in the region. ‘Seeing all those tractors and angry people on the Langegracht was quite something. When I asked someone if I could interview her, she first wanted to know how we were going to report on it. “We know all about those lies in the media,” was her reaction. We had a good interview and ended up producing a good report.’

'Networking really helps'

He first discovered how those perceptions develop while studying in America for six months during his bachelor’s degree. ‘I was intrigued by Trump and his games with the media. I don’t want to get into politics myself, but I do want to be close to it.’ Before being admitted to the Master’s degree in Media and Journalism, he first had to complete the minor in Media and Journalism. ‘I did the compulsory internship working on the Dutch live talk show Pauw. I was in charge of the website during the broadcasts. Then I did an internship at RTL Nieuws, after which I worked at Omroep West as a freelancer. When the freelance work there dried up because of Covid-19, a colleague tipped me off about applying at Unity. That worked out well. It’s really important to build up a network in the sector that you want to work in.’

‘Do a lot yourself’

He has just started his Master’s degree in Media and Journalism at Leiden University. ‘A lot of the lectures are online, and because some of the students don’t live in Leiden, most of the tutorials are also online.’ Daan is finding that quite difficult, but fortunately he has more face-to-face contact through his work. ‘I really enjoy meeting different people and hearing their stories. My interests are very broad.’ When he’s not studying or working three evenings a week as a paid political reporter, he can usually be found in Unity’s editorial department. ‘I voluntarily work extra hours at the editorial department. There’s always something to do. All editorial teams, whether they’re large or small, are ultimately the same: investigating, asking questions, editing. I can do a lot of things myself here and I’m learning a lot,’ Daan concludes.

Survey reveals that Leiden’s humanities graduates are doing well

Seventy per cent of bachelor’s and master’s alumni find their first job within two months of graduating, and for 83% of master’s graduates their first job is at HBO or university level. These were some of the findings of the recent Labour Market Survey carried out by market research agency DESAN on behalf of the Faculty of Humanities. The alumni surveyed graduated between 2016 and 2020 in languages, cultures, regional studies, international relations, history, philosophy, the arts and religious studies. Graduates could take part in the survey between 29 January and 5 March 2020. Of the 4,843 alumni who were contacted, 1,222 (25.2%) completed the online questionnaire. All participants were entered into a raffle to win one of three gift vouchers worth €250. Besides Annika and Allison, Daan Koopen was one of the three lucky winners. The prizes were awarded in September due to the coronavirus measures and the summer holiday.

Want to read more about the results of the survey?

Download the abridged leaflet or read the full version online. In the online version you can read more about how satisfied our alumni are with their chosen study programme, the main kind of work they do in their first job as well as their personal stories.

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