VUB professor Karen Donders becomes director of public engagement at VRT

VUB professor Karen Donders becomes director of public engagement at VRT

VRT’s board of directors has appointed VUB professor of communication sciences Karen Donders as director of public value. CEO Frederik Delaplace had nominated her. The aim is to put more emphasis on the unique role of VRT in society and to involve all stakeholders more closely in the public broadcaster’s strategy. Karen Donders: “For several decades, scientific research has convincingly demonstrated how important public service media is for people, society and the media market. It is a real honour and at the same time a challenge to work in practice, and no longer from the university, on a trajectory that should ensure that VRT will still have a place in the heart of every Fleming in 2030 and even in 2050.

Karen Donders is associate professor of communication sciences and teaches media policy, media economics and journalism. She is also the head of the Media & Society research programme within the imec-SMIT research group, directing 45 researchers who conduct both fundamental and applied research on media policy, markets and use. Donders is internationally renowned for her research, which mainly focuses on public service media, the interaction between media policy and economics, and the emergence of the platform economy. She is regularly consulted by companies and public authorities such as the European Commission.

In her new position, Donders will deal with policy dossiers, the development of open stakeholder management and a structural underpinning of the public value of VRT. With the chair of the board of directors and the CEO, she will strengthen relations with Flemish society, the Flemish government and parliament, other Flemish institutions and media companies. Donders will also monitor the distinctive character of VRT’s multimedia offer.

Donders already plays an active role as advisor in the ongoing negotiations of the VRT management agreement, as well as in the negotiations of the two previous management agreements.

Luc Van den Brande, chair of the VRT board of directors: “The public broadcaster plays an unmistakably important role in society by informing, inspiring and connecting. With her expertise, Karen Donders will strengthen VRT’s policy dossiers in terms of content and highlight the importance of public broadcasting.”

Frederik Delaplace, CEO of VRT: “In the coming years, the public broadcaster wants to make even more of a difference in the media landscape. We are going to graft the unique role of the public broadcaster to the rapidly changing media behaviour of the Flemish people, with a taste-broadened offer and a more intensive cooperation with our partners in the media sector. Karen’s assignment runs through the whole of VRT: she must ensure that we never lose sight of the added value for society.”

Karen Donders will take up her new position on 1 February.

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