“News is like an addiction”

International Journalism student Jelle Voort opens up about the problems journalism faces – and his personal hopes.

Text & Photo: Viktor Sarkezi

Jelle is sitting on a bench in front of a café on Wibautsraat. “I wanted to be a cop, but they didn’t take me”, he says. With his hair in a curl and his blue jeans-jacket he does remind one of an off-duty policeman from an American movie. “They wanted to diversify the force and my parents are both Dutch, so instead I started studying Journalism”, he says, this reflects in his approach to journalism: What counts for him is holding people accountable to what they’ve said.

It enrages him when he talks about politicians breaking their word or spreading fake news and he gets an almost devilish, though friendly, half-grin when he imagines debunking their lies. “For me, news is like an addiction”, he says, especially climate change is a topic close to his heart: “Half the Netherlands are below sea level – how don’t some people see the risk?”

The 24-year-old has strong standpoints and he does have an agenda: “Modern media is sensationalist, it’s always about the clicks. I want to bring the facts – I want to open people’s eyes.” But Jelle is also optimistic. He believes strongly that media and the world can change – and media can change the world. “You have to show people how developments would affect them personally”, he says, stirring his drink, “show the world from their perspective.”

Print or online, tabloid or broadsheet – that’s not important to Jelle as long as he’s able to be critical and able to make even the slightest change. This mindset proves to be stressful. “I tend to have a short fuse if stressed”, he confesses. But for all the stressed-out people he’s got a good advice to calm down: Going out into De Hoge Veluwe and watch the wildlife, untouched by society’s strains.