Today was our first Amsterdam media visit! We went to Vrije Universiteit to meet with Dr. Jolien Arendsen. It was very different talking to someone who views media from an academic perspective versus the professional perspective. Based on this talk, the Dutch seem like they’re miles ahead of the United States when it comes to methods of reaching younger audiences. According to Dr. Arendsen, younger audiences pay less attention to hard news and more attention to soft news and non-news. These trends are present in all audiences, but stronger in young ones. They have an ambivalent relationship with the news.
It was also interesting to hear about the history of Dutch media, and a concept I’ve never really heard of before, pillarization, where society was separated into “pillars”. If you were Catholic, you went to the catholic school, hung out with other Catholics and read the catholic newspapers. If you were socialist, you went to socialist schools, hung out with socialists and read the socialist paper. Same for protestants. That was a huge cultural difference to what I know about American cultural sects. Sure there’s left and right leaning media and higher education, but the extreme division that used to exist in the Netherlands was unbelievable.
As someone who works in news, it was also interesting to hear about new methods of reaching views, especially Blendle, a news kiosk where you can buy single articles. They found their success in selling the background stories people were willing to pay for not the “new” news that anyone could get through social media.
After leaving VU, a few of us headed into the city and found an amazing record and book store. I was very concerned about my ability to bring vinyl record on an airplane, but ultimately couldn’t resist the call of a limited edition colored vinyl of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. The man working there even gave me a discount because “of the wonderful music your country gave us.” The selection there was mostly jazz and rock, so I get where he’s coming from. We managed to stumble into the art district of Amsterdam with an outdoor art market, all kinds of galleries, a clothing store with my exact aesthetic and quite possibly the most perfect store in the world, The Otherist. I wanted to own everything in that shop, but managed to walk out with just an adorable set of notebooks.
As a play on the name of my new favorite store and because Anthony bought a record featuring Jim Morrison, here’s Break On Through by The Doors.