‘We still see the highest attainable ideal in the free development of the gifts hidden in the individual man’. This – somewhat – lofty phrase lies at the core of ‘Our Principles,’ which was published on 1 October 1970 in the first-ever issue of the first volume of NRC Handelsblad, a newspaper that was formed through a merger between the Algemeen Handelsblad (founded in 1828) and the Nieuwe Rotterdamse Courant (founded in 1844). The magazines nrc.next, NRC De Week and nrc.nl, in particular, would go on to become the new branches of NRC Handelsblad.
While in written form these ‘principles’ may sound a little old-fashioned, their essence is still as relevant today as it was nearly 50 years ago. The newspaper promises its readers that it will ‘continue to engage in investigative journalism,’ be ‘vigilant’ and ‘tolerant’, ‘always be willing to innovate,’ and advocate ‘freedom of thought’. What kind of reader is the newspaper’ aimed at? ‘At an independent-thinking audience’. This means that NRC ‘will not impose opinions’, ‘will first and foremost present balanced information and viewpoints so that the reader can form their own opinion… is provoked to think’.
Because we have to work for that reader, we set the journalistic bar high. On paper and on our site nrc.nl. On these various platforms, we produce independent, honest and transparent journalism every day that digs deep, takes a broad view, is critical of itself and just goes further where many others stop. We do this in writing, but also with photos, infographics or videos. Our quest for truth and facts goes hand-in-glove with a sense of balance and nuance and is driven by the need to present all sides of the story to our readers. But sometimes we fall short. And when we do, we try to convey that to the reader as quickly and as clearly as we can. In a world where “fake news” and “alternative facts” are wilfully used in an attempt to deceive and mislead the public, we believe that in-depth, transparent, credible and nuanced journalism by NRC is more necessary than ever.
NRC editorial board