The Belgian past in present journalism. How the Dutch- and the French-speaking public broadcaster (re)construct collective memories about the colonial and war history (2002-present).

Het Belgisch verleden in hedendaagse journalistiek. Hoe de Nederlandstalige en Franstalige publieke omroep collectieve herinneringen over het koloniaal en oorlogsverleden (re)construeren (2002- heden).
Start - End 
2023 - 2027 (ongoing)
Department of History
Research Focus 
Research Period 
Research Region 
Research Language 
Research Methodology 



Every day, journalists and their sources narrate early or distant past events to their audiences. They do so when providing historical contexts, drawing analogies, or commemorating historical figures or events. Yet, both international and Belgian scholars have thus far paid insufficient attention to this omnipresence of history and the role of journalism in the (re)constructing process of collective memories. Consequently, we still have little idea of how journalism performs this mnemonic task. Which memory agents speak about the past? How frequently do they do so? In what way do they reference the past, and what interpretations do they emphasize? Connecting the fields of research of Public History, Memory Studies and Journalism Studies, this multidisciplinary project envisages examining how journalists, historians and other experts construct and discuss collective memories on the Dutch and French-speaking public broadcasters VRT and RTBF in the last twenty years. It will do so by examining reporting on television and radio news shows and online websites in twelve case studies on news items about the Belgian colonial or war past. Via framing analysis and reconstruction interviews with journalists and experts, this research aims to enhance our understanding of how journalism partakes in the (re)construction process of collective memories. Doing so, this project responds to a lack of (inter)national studies regarding the nexus between journalism and memory.



Phd Student(s)