PhD Candidate for the Project "Trust Challenges of Journalism"

Research / Academic

PhD position in the project: “Trust Challenges Facing Journalism”

We are looking for a PhD candidate to join a new research project lead by Dr. Mark Boukes (PI), supported by an NWO VIDI grant: “Safeguarding Journalism’s Future in the Digital Age: Shattering News Media’s Vicious Cycle of Decreasing Revenue and Declining Trust”. The project is embedded in the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (department of Communication Science) at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, University of Amsterdam.

This is a 3-year PhD project, in which the PhD candidate will investigate the challenges that journalism faces regarding declining trust, and how journalistic organizations can possibly combat these issues. Specifically, this PhD project focuses on the trust challenges that journalism faces and how journalists and citizens deal with and understand media’s trustworthiness. The declining trust in journalism is a growing concern, and the project aims to investigate the reasons behind this phenomenon and to propose solutions to increase trust in journalism.

The PhD project will focus on three research areas: (1) exploring the grounds on which the public criticizes journalism, (2) gaining insights into how journalistic professionals perceive trust threats and actively deal with them, and (3) testing the effectiveness of proposed journalistic solutions to mitigate cynicism and distrust about journalism. The project will use a mix of methods to study how societal developments influence journalistic working routines in the newsroom and how this eventually affects citizens’ trust in and willingness to consume the news: content analysis, in-depth interviewing, and experimental research.

The project will both have scientific and societal impact, with outreach to interested stakeholders within and outside academia to disseminate the research conclusions. The PhD candidate is expected to also contribute to such outreach activities.

The full description of the Vidi-project as well as the specific PhD-project are available upon request. Please e-mail Mark Boukes for more information: [email protected]

What are you going to do?
You will be working on the overarching research question: What are the foundations of citizen’s distrust in journalism, and what strategies may effectively safeguard journalism’s vital position in the democratic society?

Specifically, the hired PhD candidate will study “media trust” from three different angles primarily in the Dutch context:

  1. Exploring the grounds on which the public has been criticizing journalism’s trustworthiness on social media (content analysis) and conversations (interviews);
  2. Gaining insights in how journalistic professionals perceive the trust threats of their industry and what strategies they develop(ed) to actively deal with these;
  3. Testing the effectiveness of proposed journalistic solutions (paradigm repair strategies) to mitigate media cynicism and increase trust in journalism.

You will/tasks:

  • Develop, conduct, and publish research on the trust challenges that the journalism industry is currently facing;
  • Complete a PhD dissertation consisting of research articles within the appointment period;
  • Contribute to the public debate and organize outreach activities of the Vidi-project;
  • Contribute to the overall Vidi-project in terms of events, research meetings, activities;
  • Collaborate with other researchers involved in the project (e.g., other PhD candidates, postdocs, international colleagues);
  • Present your work at national and international conferences;
  • Contribute to the vibrant academic life in Amsterdam by attending workshops, meetings, and lectures.


The candidate for this position has a (research) master’s degree in communication science, journalism/ media studies, or closely related social science field. The candidate has a strong affinity with the above topics, excels in research methods, and enjoys working together in a team. Because the project has a specific interest in the news industry and journalistic professionals from the Netherlands, the candidate ideally has a good command of the Dutch language.

Your experience and profile:

  • a (Research) Master’s degree in Communication Science, Political Science, Psychology or a related field, or will obtain this degree before February 1st, 2024;

● a strong interest in and preferably knowledge of the topic of journalism, and can ideally demonstrate this with demonstrable knowledge on this topic (e.g., study assignments, MA thesis)

● a firm basis in and ideally experience with research methods and data analysis, in particular: content analysis (manual and automated), experimentation, interviewing, and open science principles;

● preferably experience with the collection of social-media data, for instance via APIs and/or web scraping;

● strongly committed to methodological rigor and scientific integrity;

● curious and eager to learn new skills, theoretical perspectives and practical issues;

● excellent spoken and written command of English (as you will write an English-language dissertation and present at international conferences); being able to speak and write in Dutch is desirable;

● excellent social and organizational skills;

● eager to contribute to the scientific field;

● motivated to share your knowledge with academic and non-academic audiences;

● able to work in a team.

Salary Benefits:

The planned start date is February 1st, 2024.

The position concerns temporary employment of 1.0 fte (38 hours per week) for a maximum term of 3 years. The initial employment is for one year. Following a positive assessment and barring altered circumstances, this term will be extended by a maximum of 24 months, which should result in the conferral of a doctorate. We will put together a curriculum which will also include the opportunity to attend training courses and both national and international events. You will possibly be also tasked with teaching Bachelor's students. For this position the University Job Classification profile “promovendus” applies.

Your salary will be €2541 gross per month in the first year and will increase to €3247 in the final year, based on full-time employment and in keeping with the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities. We additionally offer an extensive package of secondary benefits, including 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8.3%.

The UvA offers excellent possibilities for further professional development and education.

What else do we offer

  • a position in which initiative and input are highly valued;
  • an enthusiastic and warm team that is open to new colleagues;
  • an inspiring academic and international working environment in the heart of Amsterdam.
Work Hours:

38 hours per week


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