This coming year is an important one for RNW. A year in which, at the age of 65, we will be reinventing ourselves. Our new Editor-in-Chief William Valkenburg officially begins today; he looks to what lies ahead of us in 2013.
The era of short-wave radio is behind us; satellite and Internet are the communication channels of the future. The worldwide dissemination of information is no longer the exclusive domain of specialised broadcasters. Via internet, anyone anywhere can reach out to the world with a good story.
That doesn’t mean journalists and broadcasters are redundant; quite the contrary in fact. Huge amounts of information are available more and more quickly and via all sorts of different channels. The need to filter, analyse and investigate all this information remains the same while the goalposts of journalism have moved completely.
Our public is no longer a passive audience that very occasionally might write us a letter, but an active link in the process of newsgathering and distribution. Our public engages actively in discussion and has stories that are worth telling. They help us filter by letting us know what is or isn’t relevant to them. And via social media, our public spreads our best stories further abroad.
RNW will have to forge a strong and unique identity if we are to win a place as a visible force in the new media landscape. Focus and specialisation are key. Free access to information, freedom of expression, good governance, and civil and sexual rights are the pillars of the new RNW: universal themes we’ll be tackling with an individualistic Dutch approach. We’ll be focusing our work in areas where freedoms are limited and aiming to appeal to a younger generation that is increasingly tuned in to new media.
2013 is Year Zero for the new-look RNW. A year in which we’ll be looking more than ever to strengthen cooperation with our partners and audiences in China, Latin America, Africa and the Arab world. A year in which we’ll be actively looking for new ways to find and tell the stories that are important to our audience, and in which our audiences will be encouraged to play an ever more active part. A year in which we’ll be pushing ourselves to cement the ties with our audience and our themes. A year, in short, of dialogue and renewal.