“We can no longer take the time to create something great”

By Jonne Telkamp

Social media and the internet have created threats and opportunities for journalists. The job has changed. Especially for those working for print. Among them is Ruud Wenting (61), editor at the camping magazine of the Royal Dutch Touring Club: ANWB Kampeer en Caravan Kampioen. Next to the printed magazine he coordinates and cocreates content for the digital department. Wenting too, is now doing a completely different job than he got hired for thirty years ago.

What was it like when you started working at ANWB?

“Back then it was just print. The internet was starting to reach the surface, but it was very slow. Sometimes I think back to these times and I wonder how we were able to make a magazine. It was all very primitive but together with a team of 13 editors, we did it.

 How did you have to adjust to digitalisation?

“Ever since the internet started to gain its current popularity the number of subscribers has been decreasing. It has been a struggle for most of us. In order to survive we had to reorganize. Before this period we created the magazine with a team of 13 editors. Now there are only three. On the other hand, we gained colleagues. Jobs that didn’t even exist decades ago. We now have an editor for Instagram, Facebook, and a channel manager – who keeps track of all our media outlets and assures that a company, the size of ANWB, remains uniform on all platforms.”

What is a threat to the magazine?

“Because we are the Royal Dutch Touring Club, we do have this little crown, this priceless form of credibility. Amateur bloggers do not necessarily affect our position, yet they do make us struggle. There’s so much content available that it’s a challenge for the audience – and us – to make sense of it all.”

 Is there anything you miss?

“Definitely. Due to digitalisation we are now able to monitor our engagement. Everything that’s popular we tackle. This means there’s no room left to delve into background information. The whole sector has become too fast-paced and requires a lot more research. We can no longer take the time to create something great and therefore the job has become more superficial.”

Do you have some piece of advice for the journalists of the future?

“Try to not get mind-blown by everything that is happening around you. Nowadays there’s much more differentiation in the field. You have tons of options. Make sure to find a niche market to specialize in. We will always need specialists”