By Anthony Mendicino
De Volkskrant, a former Catholic newsletter during the WWII, is now the Netherlands national newspaper.
While the paper started moving away from its catholic slant in the 1960s and ‘70s, it remains just as relevant in Amsterdam and the Netherlands today. With a circulation of roughly 250,000, De Volkskrant commands the largest amount of readers in the country.
Melle Drenthe, assistant to the editor-in-chief and 20-year veteran of De Volkskrant, told students how the paper has so successfully transitioned into the digital age while many others have failed.
“The older subscribers are really holding on to the print versions,” Drenthe said.
When the paper was forced to change to accommodate the new ways that news is being circulated online, it had to endure a fair amount of criticism.
“When you change someone’s newspaper it’s like going into their home and shuffling their furniture around,” Drenthe said.
Once De Volkskrant survived that first wave of criticism, it flourished.
“If you give the readers plenty of good stuff to read, they’ll forget about the way the paper looks,” Drenthe said.
He then focused on how De Volkskrant was able to succeed despite the problems most papers are facing. New website features and even a new weekend magazine, Sir Edmund, have helped the paper continue its success.
“We are growing every year, and for a paper that is good. But we need to keep innovating,” Drethe said.
While the paper has made good use of the room the internet provides to grow, it still relies on the readership of the print version.
“Don’t let anyone tell you that the paper newspaper is dead and buried because it is not,” Drenthe said emphatically.
De Volkskrant has stayed popular thanks to its smooth transition into both digital and print in today’s climate, but it is its reliance on traditional journalism that Drenthe credits for its success
“Journalism is a profession,” Drenthe said. “A very important job of people working here is to filter the news and make sure it is reported properly.”
That goes hand in hand with practicing good journalism.
“We want everyone to have a voice in the newspaper, so we ask ourselves do we have all points of view?” Drenthe added. “This is just what people expect.”