Merel Borger, MPhil



For over a decade, journalism and journalism studies have been occupied with ‘participatory journalism’. A broadly shared idea is that digital technologies enable the traditional audience to get involved in making and spreading the news. News organizations and journalists are experimenting with new, technology-enabled forms of audience participation; journalism scholars, in their turn, are exploring new phenomena and attitudes. Pessimists fear the end of journalism or even democracy; enthusiasts exult at new democratic opportunities. Considering the heat of the debate, the phenomenon of participatory journalism apparently touches on what practitioners and scholars alike consider to be a core of journalism. Fundamental questions are raised as to who counts as a journalist, what counts as good journalism, and to what end.

Against the background of new technological possibilities, I analyze the construction of participatory journalism. I do so from four different perspectives: I examine how participatory journalism comes into being as a scholarly object, how it is invented as a new journalistic practice, as a new practice of news use, and as a new genre. By studying these construction processes, I hope to gain better understanding of how journalism is rethought.

My research is part of an ongoing research project called Rethinking the Value of Journalism in the Digital Age, conducted under the auspices of The Network Institute and Language, Cognition and Communication at the VU University Amsterdam. Prof. dr. Irene C. Meijer is the director and principal investigator of the program, dr. Anita van Hoof and dr. José Sanders are co-supervisors.

Research Interests:

audience participation in journalism, routines and practices of news use and news production, innovation in journalism, discourse analysis.


I am involved in various parts of the master program on journalism. I teach a course titled Research into Journalistic Practice (Onderzoek naar de Journalistieke Praktijk) and I supervise master theses.

Office Hours:

Monday - Friday


Borger, Merel; Hoof, Anita van; Meijer, Irene C.; Sanders, José (forthcoming, 2013) “Constructing Participatory Journalism as a Scholarly Object. A Genealogical Analysis, Digital Journalism, 1(1).

Meijer, Irene C.; Borger, Merel; Kreemers, Diana; Mossevelde, van Eva (2011) RTV Utrecht is van ONS. Een Onderzoek naar de Mogelijkheden en Belemmeringen tot het Vormen van een Nieuwsgemeenschap. In opdracht van: RTV Utrecht.

Borger, Merel; Meijer, Irene C.; Hoof, Anita van; Sanders, José (2010) “Kan het Wat Zachter? Gebruikersparticipatie op het Snijvlak van Discussies over Journalistieke Vernieuwing”, in Mijke Slot & Valerie Frissen (eds.), Veranderende Nieuwspraktijken. Een Bundel over Vernieuwingen in de Productie en Consumptie van Nieuws, Creative Commons, pp.49-81.