Dean's Master Class: 'Fake news'May 7 (Monday) 2018

Event information

ECTS: PhD candidates will receive 2.5 ECTS credits if they have participated in four editions (please indicate your previous sessions in the comment section of the enrolment form)
Number of session: 1
Hours per session: 4


  • This master class is exclusively for PhD candidates of the Graduate School.
  • Consult our enrolment policy for more information.

Telephone: +31 (0)10 40 82607

May 7 (Monday) 2018
12.15-17.00 (lunch included)
Rotterdam, Erasmus University College (directions) Lecture Hall B

The upcoming edition of the Dean's Master Class will focus on the research theme 'Fake news'. Graduate School Dean Professor Liesbet van Zoonen has chosen a theme which cuts across disciplines and asked four distinguished scholars, from three academic fields, to present their research on the theme. The speakers and their respective disciplines are:

  • Lecturer Chris Aalberts Media and Communication
  • Assistant Professor Rebecca Moody Public Administration
  • Assistant Professor Tim de Mey Philosophy
  • Assistant Professor Bernadette Kester Media and Communication

The master class is a highly interactive event, consisting of a combination of presentations, discussions and assignments. During the afternoon, PhD candidates will work in groups towards presenting a draft research proposal on 'Fake news'. The best proposal will be awarded 'The Dame'; the Dean’s Award for Multidisciplinary Excellence.


  • 12.15 – 12.50 walk-in lunch
  • 12.50 – 13.00 opening
  • 13.00 – 14.00 presentations
  • 14.00 – 15.00 speed dating with the speakers
    Q&A session in groups
  • 15.00 – 16.30 ideas factory
    Participants, (first individually, then in groups) work on ideas for a research proposal
  • 16.30 – 17.00 presentations research proposals
    Two members of each group presents the proposal to be reviewed by the speakers. The best proposal will be awarded the 'Dean's Award for Multidisciplinary Excellence' (DAME).
  • > 17.00 drinks

SpeakersDean's Master Class: 'Fake news'

Chris Aalberts is lecturer in political communication at Erasmus University. He also works as a journalist. He specialises in politics that is ignored by the mass media such as the European Parliament and the Dutch water authorities. At the moment, he writes on local politics in his birth town Den Helder.

Chris will reflect on a specific case of ‘fake news’. According to the European agency ‘EU vs. Disinfo’ Chris produced fake news himself on a Dutch public lecture regarding the situation in Ukraine. Chris will analyse the responses to this accusation and what they tell us about the current state of Dutch journalism.

Required reading

  • Nijeboer, A. (2018): Why the EU must close EU vs. Disinfo. EU Observer, March 28.
    Available online
  • Aldershoff, W. et al. (2018): EU vs. Disinfo site must be strengthened, not abolished. EU Observer, April 5.
    Available online
  • Van den Brink, J. (2018): Letter to the European External Action Service.
    Will be forwarded to participants
  • Optional (Dutch) Aalberts, C. (2015): #Bruslog: Thierry Baudet is Neerlands belangrijkste expert over Oekraine. ThePostOnline, November 19.
    Available online

Rebecca Moody works at the Department of Public Administration and Sociology. Currently she is working on the projects dealing with visual culture, information systems, big data, community of practices and knowledge creation within the field of public administration.

The Power of the Media: Fake News
The impact and background of fake news will be discussed on the basis of a conceptualization of three types of media power in order to become able to systematically substantiate the role of the media within fake news.

Street, J., (2011) Power and Mass Media. In Mass Media, Politics and Democracy (pp.283-328). New York, Palgrave Macmillan.
Will be forwarded to participants

Tim de Mey is assistant professor in theoretical philosophy. In his work he examines the role of imagination and creativity. In philosophy, art, and daily life.



Bernadette Kester is a Senior Assistant Professor in the Department of Media & Communication at Erasmus University. Her teaching and research activities lie in the fields of journalism studies and media representation (including visual representation). Her current research projects are focussed on the personal experiences of war correspondents; journalists who made a career switch to information management and PR; and the profile of Dutch journalism students.

Journalism and Fake news: Crisis, challenge or wake up call
That it seems impossible to find a clear cut definition of what fake news exactly is, tells us something about the complex nature of news in general. As a product based on selection, routines, (moral and economic) values and world views, (‘real’) news is a social construction of reality, not a mirror. Considering (real and fake) news as truthful or objective is mainly based on trust. Fact checking won’t help…

Edson C. Tandoc Jr., Zheng Wei Lim & Richard Ling (2017) Defining “Fake News”, Digital Journalism, 6:2, 137-153.
Available online