Annual report 2014
The mission of
Paul
Jansen

Paul Jansen spends more time in the Dutch Parliament than at home on the couch, all in the name of achieving his mission for De Telegraph. "I want to explain the facts."

Name: Paul Jansen
Age: 47
Position: political commentator
Brand: De Telegraaf

"Working at De Telegraaf means top journalism for the largest paper in the Netherlands and that's why I love working here. It's the premier league for reporters. There's no ignoring De Telegraaf. Our 'in your face' layout is a clear statement; our front page is immediately recognisable.

My mission is to establish relationships between events, like my history teacher who did exactly that at secondary school. It was because of him that I became a journalist. I want to explain the facts, so that other people can form their opinions. In my analyses, I want to tell the story behind the news, explain it and clarify it. Of course, everybody has an opinion about politics but most people don't progress further than 'they've messed up again in The Hague'. For nearly 20 years now, De Telegraaf has offered me the opportunity to do something about that.

I live in Leiden, though my family (wife and four children) thinks that I live in Parliament. The political world has been very unstable in recent years, so there's plenty for me to do. And you simply can't put your finger accurately on the news if you're not there. You need to get up close in politics. Get your feet dirty in order to really know what's happening.

Top journalism for the largest newspaper in the Netherlands”

The high-spots are the general elections, or cabinet crises. Everything and everyone is on the move and nobody can estimate the final effect. It's that unpredictability which makes politics so fascinating to follow. And yet it can be boring, when debates last for hours on end. And it may well just be a charade, because the decisions have already been taken behind the scenes. All that's left is for the politicians to go through a round of point-scoring. I really don't sit in on all those debates, you know. In any case, my work is mainly about maintaining my network - heading into the corridors, with time to talk to people.

Balancing on a thin line


The information from my network is often coloured, All politicians try to win over constituents in their own way. My task is to make the story as clear and as objective as possible. I want to give readers an insight into the political game and the stakes involved. What are the consequences? What interests and considerations are involved? I explain what's happening on the stage and give them a look behind the scenes. If I don't share that information, politicians will wrap the public around their little fingers.

When it comes to complicated themes, parliamentary journalism is a question of balancing on a thin line. You want to simplify the story but you need to cover the essentials. If I can't do so, then I sometimes simply won't write the story. Fortunately, I have room to give more extensive analyses and in-depth explanations in my weekly column and in the TV programme Vandaag de Dag, in which I occasionally feature. That's a fantastic sideline. Whatever the platform used, you always feel like you're part of a leading concern. TMG has the punching power, image and potential to continue to grow. I'm delighted to contribute to that."

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