“The big names in investigative journalism are all men – I’m going to change this”

Being only 22, Chloé Schlette already runs her own little Media business with writing a travelblog and works as a freelancer for a women’s magazine. In the future she doesn’t see herself in trivial news reporting though. As a student of Creative Business at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, who is now doing a minor in International Journalism, she wants to get into investigative crime journalism.

Chloé still has an hour left before she’s taking the train back home to Delft. She uses this timeslot to enjoy the last sunrays of summer on a bench in front of the university. “For sure investigating crimes comes with a lot of risks and is a tough industry, especially when it comes to having a family”, she says.

Staying with shallow entertainment reporting has never been an option for her, even though her family is not happy with her career goal. “They say that investigating crimes is too dangerous for a girl. But you take the same risk as a man. I think that’s not fair!”, Chloé says in a confident manner. She sees a big problem in women not being taken serious in investigative journalism. “Marian Husken, who wrote a book about one of the biggest criminals in the Netherlands, never gets invited to talk- or news shows that deal with crime. It’s always the men! I’ve never seen her on TV.” Chloé is certain that she will contribute to solving this issue. However, in her opinion, this is not the only problem journalism is facing right now.

During Covid a lot of people in Chloé’s social environment started to mistrust news. Some of her friends even refused to consume any hard news. “When there was a press conference, they said that they didn’t want to watch it, because the news was too negative for them and that would kill their mood. They rather didn’t consume any news,” Chloé says. To a certain degree she can understand her friends’ mistrust though: “A lot of media outlets published false information, like wrong numbers of Covid infections and deathrates.” She got the overall impression that Dutch news outlets used Covid-infection numbers from sources outside of the Netherlands that later on turned out to be wrong. “The problem is that big news outlets never corrected their mistakes. It is time for them to acknowledge their mistakes, explain why they happened and not put the blame on someone else”, she explains.

To Chloé it seems important that the journalists themselves step into the spotlight instead of hiding behind the media companies they work for. According to her, this move would make journalists more approachable and reduce the distance between the reader and the writer. “It will take some time until this trust will be built up again”, Chloé says with a long sigh. By now, the sunrays have disappeared behind the university building and for Chloé it’s time to head to the station.