Research group at imec & Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Anne-Sofie Vanhaeght


Personal Description

I’ve always been fascinated by public service media’s potential to bring topics as politics, culture, and science in such a way that it touches a diversity of people. Admittedly, when I started researching public broadcasters my enthusiasm made room for a more critical approach. Genuine collaboration between media-professionals and their publics to place critical, often-neglected topics on the policy agenda seem to remain limited. Therefore, in my PhD I aim to study how public broadcasters can foster audience participation that goes beyond simply adding social media platforms to radio and television programs. Combining policy and user research, I not only question the hype surrounding interactivity and participation in policy documents, but I also talk to media users themselves.

Before graduating in Communication Sciences in 2013, I conducted an internship with the American public broadcaster in Washington DC. I’ve been working at imec-SMIT since then onwards, taking on responsibilities as a teaching assistant for Communication Sciences at VUB as well. As a member of the Media Unit I have written several scientific and popularizing publications on public service media, audience participation and media literacy. To maintain the link with public service media practice, I work every Tuesday at the study department of the Flemish public broadcaster VRT. Together with colleagues from imec-SMIT, I conducted two preparatory studies for the newest management contract of VRT commissioned by the Minister of Media. In 2015, my research has been awarded with an FWO-scholarship.