RMA History Blog

Casper van der Veen: From history to journalism

Casper van der Veen: From history to journalism

By Sacha van Leeuwen

When Casper van der Veen graduated in 2012, he was not sure whether he wanted to become a PhD-candidate. During his semester abroad in Dundee he studied with experts on secularisation history and he graduated from the RMA program with excellent grades. However, finding a PhD-position proved to be difficult and because of his interest in journalism he decided to become an intern at De Volkskrant.

“Academic research is often focused on rather marginalised topics and as a journalist you can approach history from a broader perspective and reach a broader public”, Casper explains. He quit his internship when he was hired as an international news editor at news agency Novum Nieuws. Casper is currently working as a freelance journalist and is a web editor for NRC Handelsblad and NRC-next. Moreover, he is writing a book on the history of North Korea.

Even though Casper chose to pursue a career in journalism, he values his academic background: “Academic skills, like the ability to critically analyse sources, are very important for journalists.” Casper encourages students to engage in extracurricular activities, increase their visibility by attending conferences and lectures, spend time creating a professional network – both online, for instance on LinkedIn, and by keeping in touch with people who share your interests – and to study abroad.

Casper’s advice:

“I recommend students to do an internship or work as a teaching assistant during the RMA. Just think creatively, show initiative and don’t be afraid to let people know what you want.”