USC Annenberg Online Journalism ReviewUSC





Belgium
Online News in Europe
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Like everything else in Belgium, online journalism comes in two flavors: Dutch in the north (Flanders region) and French in the south.

Johan Mortelmans, publishing manager of De Standaard Online, the leading newspaper site in the north, says, "In Flanders we never had the large hype about online news. Only a few newspapers have a Web site. And only one Internet provider, Planet Internet, has its own news desk.  The Web presence of television and radio is rather limited. There is one independent online magazine, Mao, which started last year and has financial problems.

The future of online journalism is very bright. Once people get used to paying for online content, a lot more online journalists will be hired.

"Online journalism is just getting a foothold here," Mortelmans adds. "Nevertheless, people like to check news online, and De Standaard Online constantly updates its site with breaking news. A lot of Belgians like to visit foreign news sites as well. The Internet is very popular because of widespread broadband here."

Other news sites in Flanders include VTM, the site of a commercial TV station, and the sites of two regional newspapers.
 
Financial news sites are starting to make headway in Belgium. Uitgeversbedrijf Tijd, a media company that publishes a major financial newspaper and three magazines, has committed to the Web with Tijdnet, the biggest financial site in Belgium; L'Investisseur, aimed at the French-speaking region of Belgium; and Eurobench, a financial site for The Netherlands.
 
Co?rdinator Guy Mu?sen says Tijdnet offers financial news and data at no cost to readers of the newspaper with a 15-minute stock ticker delay; real-time news and financial data, available to Web subscribers; and news archives, available for a fee.

"We believe that online journalists need to develop specific qualities that are different from newspaper journalists' skills," Mu?sen says. "The future of online journalism is very bright. Once people get used to paying for online content, a lot more online journalists will be hired, and in the long term, there will probably be as many online journalists as newspaper journalists."

Noteworthy sites

De Standaard Online (Dutch language)
Le Soir (French language)
Tijdnet (financial news)

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