EUR Students Take on Present-day Problem in the Media Market

During a case competition, master students from UvA and Erasmus University took on the challenge of solving a case study written by a group of Erasmus University College students. Students had the special opportunity of presenting their innovative solutions to the vice editor-in-chiefs of NOS and NRC, two Dutch news companies, eager to hear how students approach the problem discussed in the case.

How do media companies tackle the shift from traditional media to new media? With the accommodation of Internet into our daily lives, news companies are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain readership and subscriptions. This was the problem two groups of master students faced during a case competition on Thursday, March 3rd at the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship. In the Rotterdam Science Tower, overlooking the beautiful Maas river, students from the Universiteit van Amsterdam (UvA) and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) were teamed up to develop and present their ideas on this burning topic. At the end of the day, the students attending either a Journalism (UvA) or Economics (ESE) master programme, managed to come up with compelling solutions.

Trustfonds Case Writing Cycle

The case that was used throughout the day was written by students of Erasmus University College (EUC), who were guided on their case writing through an extracurricular course, made possible by the Erasmus Trustfonds. Three University College students carried out research on the topic, NOS and NRC interviewed Giselle van Cann and Marcella Breedeveld about writing a challenging case on a problem that many people can relate to. The case is currently in the process of being published for use by other universities.

What made the event unique was that students were given a chance to pitch their ideas to Giselle van Cann and Marcella Breedeveld, the vice editor-in-chiefs of NOS and NRC - two large media companies in the Netherlands. Often, a case deals with a problem that is outdated or perhaps already solved. Yet, both vice editors-in-chief, alumni of Erasmus University, are currently trying to get a grip on the problem being discussed, at their respective media firms, and are eager to hear how today’s youth would approach such a situation. After all, it is the younger generation that is most difficult to target as a media company, partly since they are the first ones to shift to new media. According to Giselle van Cann, the older generations tend to follow the young when it comes to media. We see this, for instance when looking at the use of social media, which was first only popular amongst the young, but is now used more widespread as a means to inform oneself on local or world developments. But how did the Journalism and Economics students approach the problem and what did they suggest NOS and NRC should do to keep up with developing forms of new media?


One of the groups that took on the problem for NRC, came up with a plan to have personalized accounts, where the reader is free to select news segments that interest them. This way, every reader has his or her own custom-tailored news feed. This idea, along with a pitch that included having a game-oriented approach to news, managed to impress and inspire Marcella Breedeveld from NRC. Another team presenting for NOS, developed a plan that encouraged having journalists become more prominent and personal within news segments. For both the students and the vice editor-in-chiefs, the day resulted in some useful insights on the possibilities media companies should explore. 

The event was made possible through rigorous collaboration of ESE, UvA, Erasmus Trustfonds and EUC. Although ESE and the UvA were organizers, it would not have been possible without support from ‘Stimuleringsfonds voor de Journalistiek’ and Erasmus Trustfonds.