“Today there is more work for less people”

By Kristina Blockx

Stefan Gillissen is a journalist at the Dutch regional newspaper De Limburger. He has been working as a journalist for 17 years, since he completed his education at School voor de Journalistiek Utrecht in 2000. The last 16 years he has been working at De Limburger, covering everything from sports to crime news. In his experience the time pressure for journalists has increased through the years.

What is the biggest difference between working as a journalist today and working as a journalist ten years ago?

When I started working at the De Limburger in 2001 I had 250 colleagues. Now I have around 120. That is definitely the biggest difference. Today there is more work to do by less people. And because of the digital development you have to think about stories for Internet as well. This is a new dimension, which demands a lot of time and effort.

What has the increased digitalizing meant for your daily work?
It has affected my daily work in many ways. Today you have to pay more attention all the time because everything is happening so fast. You have to think about how the story can fit the Internet. Every day we make a daily choice about where and when to publish the news first. The rule is that it has to go online as soon as possible, when we are talking about the hard news.

How has the time pressure developed through your career?

Today you have less time to write your stories. When I started my career you could stay home and work on a story for days. But today we don’t have enough people to do that. So from that perspective it is a lot busier to work as a journalist today.

How do you think your workload will develop in the coming years?

The working situation became more stressful when we started going online. But now we have adapted to the new situation. Even though it’s hard to predict the future I have a feeling that the workload will stay on this level for the coming years. Many people think that the days of printed news are over. I don’t believe that. People are still willing to take a newspaper and read the long well written in-dept stories.