‘Curiosity is key’

By Mila Emmer

Ambitious, driven, a perfectionist and reliable. That’s how Lisanne van ‘t Riet (23) describes herself best. The communications student and future D66-politician talks passionately about the political world as she sees a crucial link with journalism. “Politicians want a connection with voters and society at large. Journalists take on the bridging role in that picture”, she says.

Van ‘t Riet was born in Hoorn, but has been living in Leiden for the past six months. “Ultimately, I want to follow a master’s in political science there.” When asked whether she also wants to do something in journalism later on, she gives a clear answer: no. She does, however, possess qualities that would make a good journalist. “I like to know everything about things, although it really depends on the topic.” Van ‘t Riet is not concerned with ‘easy topics’ like the weather or soccer, but she gets a lot of energy out of topics that cut across society. “I am very much concerned with issues such as feminism, its historical background, or for example educational inequality.”

In her role as a future politician, she will have a lot to do with journalists and the journalistic practice. “I think it’s a good thing if journalists are sceptical and critical about certain subjects and politicians, but it must be of additional value.” Journalist will continue to play that ‘controlling role’, she mentions, although she does not regard the future of journalism very positively. “Journalism continues to water down. Journalism and social media are increasingly mixing with each other, which makes it more difficult to distinguish facts from fiction.” This increasing difficulty that comes with filtering information in the modern age is very worrying, according to the 23-year-old.

That is exactly why curiosity is such an important quality to have. “Curiosity is key. If you’re not curious and do not want to research and know everything, you can never be a good politician or journalist.”