It (almost) pays the rent

For the last one and a half years I have been a regular contributor to the most important news agency in the Netherlands, ANP. People assume I work for them more or less fulltime and send in several stories a week. That is not the case, so maybe I should explain what it means to work as a freelance correspondent for a news agency in a small country like The Netherlands.

ANP works together with several other agencies, like DPA (Germany) and AFP (France). And ANP gets news from the big ones, like Reuters and AP. So the general idea behind my work for ANP is: don’t try to compete with Reuters and AP. How could I, on my own, based in Istanbul, a five hours drive away from the political centre of Turkey? Also in need of some sleep now and then, so not on 24/7 alert for big important news?
One of my tasks is to follow the news about Turkey closely, and send (short) background stories that the big news agencies don’t provide. For example, last year the closure case against governing party AKP ended, and the judges decided the AKP would not be closed down. I heard the big news very fast, but it was not my duty to report about that news event itself: I wrote this article about how the decision could influence the AKP’s policies. Another example: at the end of April a Turkish Airlines plane crashed near Amsterdam. The hot news didn’t come from me, but I wrote a ‘press scan’ for ANP on what the Turkish newspapers reported about it.

Apart from that, I look at the news in Turkey through Dutch eyes. For example, also at the end of April, a Turkish court decided to open a case against the (no longer existing) Kurdish parliament in exile. The big news agencies didn’t really pick it up, but I read it in a Turkish paper and remembered the fuzz in the Netherlands at the time, because Dutch centre of government The Hague was one of the cities where the Kurdish parliament was holding its meetings. That made it interesting for The Netherlands, so ANP wanted a news story about it from me. The same thing happened when one of Turkey’s most infamous terrorists died in the Netherlands, which was first reported in a Turkish newspaper.
As well, your ANP correspondent is keeping an eye on small ‘noteworthy’ news that you find in the news section with somewhat weird stories. To be honest, I don’t re-publish all these weird stories on my website. Some of them, I do, as this one proves.
In short: four to six stories a month for ANP. It (almost) pays the rent!

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