The Netherlands gets a 'New Years' gift' from journalists

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at

Dutch journalists based around the world, working for many different news organisations, have joined forces to deliver a new sort of news website. will focus on what individuals are doing to help solve many of the problems that the journalists report on a daily basis.

The website will carry stories about people who are inspiring others to make a difference. All the participating journalists, including a number who work for Radio Netherlands Worldwide, are taking part in the project on a voluntary basis. has been set up on the initiative of Bas Mesters, the Italy correspondent for public broadcaster NOS and the newspaper NRC Handelsblad. Mr Mesters says the site, which calls itself 'a New Year’s gift to the Netherlands', will offer 'a different perspective on the news'. It will concentrate on human-interest stories rather than hard news.

The mission
The website explains its mission as follows: "We zoom in on the news from a different angle, looking through the eyes of those who build rather than destroy - people who tackle problems, sometimes risking their own lives, often selflessly and always against the mainstream. They might be teachers, doctors, nurses, farmers, entrepreneurs etc. They’re people who inspire their environment. They’re the sort of people you encounter and from whom you might use some quotes in your story, but people you can’t forget and would like to portray.

"We deliver critical professional journalism that is not opinionated. The five w's - who, what, where, when and why - remain in force, but we are adding a sixth: what now? (or what should he/she do next?). The end result is not a 'good news' website. The stories shouldn’t always be comfortable to read. We’ll show the reality by looking over the shoulders of the 'builder'. We’ll show the barriers that he/she encounters, the doubts, but also the perseverance".

Support from the mainstream media
Many national and regional newspapers have promised to publish a selection of the stories from the website, and it’s hoped that some of the audio and video stories will find their way onto TV screens. Dutch journalists not yet involved in the project are warmly invited to join.

RNW's deputy editor-in-chief Ardi Bouwers commented: "A new decade, a new journalistic initiative. One/11 focuses primarily on people who inspire; the site calls them "heroes". It's also very useful to look at situations through the eyes of those who are building rather than destroying, and who are going against the mainstream. It's a nice journalistic gift for the New Year".