On November 16, the VVOJ Association for Investigative Journalists awarded ‘De Loep’, the prize for the best investigative journalistic productions in The Netherlands and Belgium. The award ceremony took place during the VVOJ conference on November 16 and 17 in Antwerp, Belgium.
By Jani Verheyden*
Ellen van Gaalen and Carel van der Velden, two journalists from the ‘Algemeen Dagblad/Rotterdam’, won the prize for the best piece of written investigative journalism. ‘De Loep’ for the best audio-visual product went to the Belgian journalist Wim van den Eynde.
The young journalist Ellen van Gaalen cooperated with her experienced colleague Carel van der Velden. Both journalists work for the ‘Algemeen Dagblad/Rotterdam’ in The Netherlands. With their articles about the mayoress of ‘Schiedam’ (a Dutch town close to Rotterdam) they won ‘De Loep’ for the best piece of written investigative journalism.
The two journalists reported about the abuse of power of the Dutch politician and informed the readers about it.
Van Gaalen: “As a young journalist there are moments I am a little bit insecure. Carel helped me be more confident. Two are just stronger.”
‘Algemeen Dagblad’ is a local newspaper. Also other local newspapers were nominated. The jury was impressed by the work these papers were able to do.
Wim Van den Eynde, the Belgian journalist from the national station ‘VRT’, won ‘De Loep’ for his reportage about the whistle-blowers in the police-force in ‘Hazodi’ (three towns in Belgium). Van den Eynde is very happy with the prize, but denounces something:
“I am disappointed that we aren’t allowed to make a sequel about these whistle-blowers. A lot of things have happened since the report. So I think we have a sort of responsibility towards these people. That’s why I would like to make a reportage about how people treat whistle-blowers.
It’s strange that the ‘VRT’ doesn’t want to make a second reportage about it, because more and more managers at the ‘VRT’ want to focus more on investigative journalism. I think they just have a problem with the reactions investigative journalism causes. In that the national station, ‘VRT’, has to pick up strength.”
This year the VVOJ didn’t award the ‘Aanmoedigingsprijs’, a prize for young talented journalists. Ad van Liempt, foreman of the jury: ‘‘There are a lot of talented young journalists. That is not the problem. We only think young journalists should get more time and guidance in order to make good investigative pieces. So it is a sort of statement we make this year.”
* Jani Verheyden is a student at the Plantijn Hogeschool in Antwerp.