VRT NWS is Flemish public broadcaster VRT’s news content brand. Keeping the Flemish people informed is one of VRT’s essential missions. From its independent position, VRT NWS guarantees correct, factual, and reliable information in times when the line between real and fake news is blurring. VRT NWS also provides interpretation, background, and context for local, national, and international news. VRT NWS provides differentiated, multimedia news content via other VRT brands’ channels, its own media platforms, and social media.
VRT NWS wants to be, and remains to be, the most relevant news source in Flanders, informing all Flemings with news from everywhere. To maintain this relevance, the news service uses various channels to reach as many target groups in Flanders as possible.
Today our society is increasingly confronted with an oversupply of information and disinformation. In this complex context, VRT NWS wants to guarantee independent, reliable, and impartial news and interpretation, and wants to do so in an accessible manner.
VRT NWS wants to stay close to the people and keep a finger on the pulse, to bring stories that are relevant in Flemish society and the world. In this way, the public feels involved, and people recognise themselves in the programmes. The news service provides information that is useful to the Flemings, that is concrete, makes their daily life easier and helps them to form an opinion so they can play their role in society.
VRT NWS not only closely monitors what is happening in Flanders and in the world. The news service also wants to set the news agenda itself, with its own stories and investigative journalism, such as in Pano. Through in-depth research, issues are revealed and relevant social themes are explored further. By illuminating different sides of the story, providing correct information, and taking a nuanced look at what is going on, VRT NWS contributes to the debate.
VRT NWS wants to provide all Flemings with news and information. The news service ensures that the reporting is coordinated with the flow of the day and matches with the target group:
• The reporting follows the media user throughout the day with adapted news content on various platforms. After all, the information requirement differs from moment to moment. In the morning you wake up with the news on the radio, an update about the traffic follows in the car, and in the evening, you tune in to VRT NWS Journaal, Laat, De afspraak or Terzake for news and a more in-depth interpretation of current events.
• The news and interpretation are also adjusted according to the target group. A news update on Radio 1 will differ from one on MNM in terms of language used, themes raised and so on. This differentiation in tone and form is necessary to reach as many different target groups as possible. Tailor-made information has more impact than serving everyone the same dish.
Reliability as the foundation
VRT NWS distinguishes itself in terms of reliability. To guarantee this reliability, the news service has formulated a few spearheads:
• Content expertise
The news service invests in developing substantive expertise. Journalists are given the opportunity to follow specific domains of current affairs intensively over a longer period. In this way, they can acquire the necessary background knowledge and build up a network of contact persons.
• Theme editors
Apart from building up general expertise, the news service also focuses on specific domains such as politics, international news, justice and so on. These domains are subdivided into theme editors, who acquire expertise in the subject matter. The theme editors feed the broadcast editors with qualitative and reliable information, which makes it more transparent and clearer for bringing experts to the fore on crucial themes.
In addition, journalists are also increasingly working on themes that concern the Flemings: climate, migration, health, and so on. By considering what is going on in society, VRT NWS remains socially relevant and important in the lives of all Flemings. The news service also has an eye for what is happening abroad: both the major breaking stories and the more obscure problems and forgotten conflicts are highlighted.
• Checking and double checking
In the current media landscape, it is not always clear what is correct and what is not. Disinformation is emerging more than ever and is very much a part of our everyday world. VRT NWS wants to create clarity in this complex context and provide the correct version of the facts, which requires checking and double-checking of information. What is true and what is false? Which mechanisms are out there? By asking this type of questions, VRT NWS can continue to improve its journalistic work.
Digital platforms and digital footprint
VRT NWS is a dynamic brand. Every day, the news service is looking for ways to improve their content so that it becomes more comprehensible for everyone. The way in which the news is presented should be tailored to the needs of the target audience. For example, news tailored to young people will generally be offered via Instagram, via @nws.nws.nws.
VRT NWS established a creative cell where video and graphics are taken to a higher level. This makes the news content more visual and accessible to the public. There is also a web studio and a video box on the news floor. With these tools, VRT NWS manages to deliver fast and accessible news.
In addition, VRT NWS is constantly making efforts to strengthen the news service’s digital footprint, and to increase the reach on the site, app, and social media.
Networking with the public
To strengthen ties with the public, VRT NWS organises events under the name VRT NWS Connect. During these events, visitors are immersed in the world of VRT experts, they can ask questions and converse with the journalists. These networking evenings are a good opportunity to bring VRT NWS employees into contact with professionals in the trade as well as with the public.
For and with education
In addition to daily news gathering, VRT NWS is increasingly focusing on information and education. Collaboration with education is necessary. In order to inspire students with the offer, it must be tailor-made: content at the right level, in the right form and packaging and via the right channels. Credibility and social relevance are central to focusing on knowledge, media literacy and citizenship.
In addition, the news service is also actively committed to creating content that is specifically intended for education: the EDUbox. This is an innovative educational concept in collaboration with partners such as imec and Mediawijs, each time working around a specific theme. VRT NWS informs education about its audiovisual programmes and provides schools with suitable audiovisual content via the Archief voor Onderwijs (Archive for Education). Audiovisual content such as Karrewiet, and the University of Flanders is tailored to the curricula and is perfect for use in the classroom: to visualize the subject matter or to bring current events into the classroom.
VRT NWS puts transparency first throughout its operations. An ombudsman independently assesses the quality of the reporting and responds to complaints and questions, thereby ensuring that VRT NWS carries out its assignment in a deontologically responsible manner.
A selection of VRT NWS programmes
News services provide information around the clock on all radio stations, often first-hand, from national and international sources. Current affairs and information are presented on Radio 1 in the morning in De ochtend and in the evening in De wereld vandaag. Throughout the day current affairs are closely monitored.
Via VRT NWS, listeners are kept abreast of current affairs. Via DAB and vrtnws.be VRT NWS broadcasts the latest news broadcast in a loop.
News services provide five broadcasts per day and a news broadcast for children and young people: Karrewiet.
Apart from this, the viewer receives interpretations of current affairs via Pano, Villa Politica, De markt and De zevende dag on Eén, and Terzake, De afspraak and Vranckx on Canvas.
Online and social media
All news information is available at any time via VRTNWS.be.
The news website also has its own newsletter which keeps you informed about the day's programme content, the news headlines, and the specials on the news site.
VRTNWS.be has a free app for iOS and Android (both smartphone and tablet).
Mobile users can also surf to vrtnws.be in your browser. The website has been adapted for optimal ease of use on mobile devices.