Tijdschrift voor Communicatiewetenschap vol:39 issue:2 pages:77-91
ELLEN HIJMANS, PYTRIK SCHAFRAAD, KEES BUIJS & LEEN D'HAENENS Newssources and quality in journalism. An exploration of domestic newsitems in Flemish and Dutch newspapers. This article analyzes domestic news in four Flemish and Dutch quality newspapers in terms of source transparency and the role of pre-packaged information. The purpose of the study is to provide an analysis of Flemish and Dutch newspapers in light of the British quality press situation. Davis (2008) and Lewis et al. (2008a; 2008b) found that 70% of the domestic news in British newspapers is entirely or partly based on 'recycled' information. This article analyzed De Morgen, De Standaard, NRC Handelsblad and de Volkskrant. The share of pre-packaged information among these newspapers differed rather much. The content analysis showed that 34% of domestic news consists entirely or partly of pre-packaged information. The outcomes were less dramatic than the British ones. Nevertheless, the results show that press and PR agencies do have a significant influence on the news agenda of leading newspapers. Hence, future large-scale research should focus more on the trajectories of information from sources to the possible news articles in the newspapers (and other news outlets). Our study shows that journalistic quality is vulnerable to pre-packaged news, which can be a threat to reliability, transparency, including the very identity of news outlets.