The news industry is in a constant state of flux. News users are bombarded with (fake?) information, which they consume across a growing range of connected devices, and which shapes the way they see the world. I am fascinated by uncovering how news users give meaning to the news, how getting informed is intertwined with everyday routines and how media help us stay in touch with society. Whereas studying evolutions in the business and production of journalism are of utmost importance, I am specifically interested in grasping how people use news, and how using news forms democratic citizenship. I study these evolutions mainly via (semi-)ethnographic approaches, although I also draw on survey research and seek to explore new methods like behavioural data.
I am now an Assistant Professor in the Master in Journalism and Media in Europe at the VUB, but have been a ‘Smitter’ since 2006, when I started to work on a strategic research project on disruptions in the news publishing sector in Flanders. I have been passionately following the evolutions in journalism and news media ever since, turning my research on participatory news uses into a PhD, which I successfully defended in 2010. I continued working at SMIT as a Senior Researcher afterwards, involved in the acquisition and coordination of various applied and fundamental research projects. I am currently promoting two projects, Media Clusters Brussels and Kenniscentrum Cultuur- en Mediaparticipatie, and am involved in the international Digital News Report project. As a member of the Council for Journalism, I deliberate with journalists and media professionals about cases of journalism ethics.