Stories#098 Maaike's urge to always be on the move

#098 Maaike's urge to always be on the move

The story of Karina's interview skills is the story of Maaike's urge to always be on the move

From a very young age, Editor-in-Chief Maaike Platvoet of U-Today knew what she liked and wanted to do: tell stories. Preferably about and to others. In a conversation with Communications Manager Karina Bakker, Maaike is, for once, the interview and answering questions instead of asking them.

Click for Dutch version

Monday 28 November 2022 

Karina: ‘Maaike, how fun that I get to interview you. Let's start with your role at UT. What does a workweek look like for you?’

Maaike: ‘Every day starts with our team meeting. We meet for a maximum of one hour and talk about what we’re doing, what’s on the agenda and whether we need to attend anything. The main goal always being to keep readers informed about everything that has to do with UT. Next, everyone makes appointments, does interviews, and writes stories. As editor-in-chief, I mainly look at the broad outline of the website, the magazines, and the specials. I’m really the manager of the team. That means that I monitor the quality of U-Today and deal with human resources and finances. Every now and then I still make my own stories, because that's ultimately the best part.’

Karina: ‘Where does that predilection come from?’

Maaike: ‘Back when I was eleven years old, I already knew I wanted to become a journalist. I already liked telling stories at that age. I filled several notebooks with pure fiction. Sometime later, I found out that there’s a degree that allows you to become a journalist. I immediately knew that I’d be in my element doing that. I believe that everyone has the right to good, reliable information, which is why I like working for an independent news outlet.’

“Back when I was eleven years old, I already knew I wanted to become a journalist”
Maaike Platvoet

Karina: ‘What does your career path look like so far?’

Maaike: ‘I graduated as a journalist at Windesheim University of Applied Sciences in 2000. I did my graduation assignment at the Twentsche Courant Tubantia since I wanted to stay in this region for love. At the time, it was very difficult to get a permanent job at the newspaper. That’s why I became an employee at the internship office of UT. I really liked that because I helped students with their search for a good internship. The downside was that the work had nothing to do with journalism. I was, however, immediately fascinated by the environment with students.’

Karina: ‘How did you end up at U-Today?’

Maaike: ‘Eventually, a position for journalist became available at UT-Nieuws and I was chosen after my application. We're talking about 2002. So I've been here for twenty years. In 2011, we got a new editor-in-chief. After five years, she took on another challenge. For me, that was the perfect time to take over her position. Moreover, I had been part of the editorial team for years, so I knew the ropes and the sensitivities of an academic environment. Thanks to the lessons of both predecessors, I’ve become the editor-in-chief that I am today.’

“My predecessors have made me the editor-in-chief I am today”
Maaike Platvoet

Karina: ‘I'm curious how U-Today has changed over the past ten years. Can you tell me more about that?’

Maaike: ‘A lot has changed because of digitisation. We began with a weekly newspaper, which later became a monthly magazine. In 2017, the magazine disappeared as well and we went completely digital, with a new website. Then we changed the name UT-Nieuws to U-Today, so that we can better serve the growing international target audience. We started with newsletters, social media, and created an app. Nowadays this is all very normal, but back then we had to come up with everything and figure it all out ourselves. What makes this fun and challenging is that digitisation is an ongoing thing.’

Karina: ‘And what if you look ten years ahead?’

Maaike: ‘That’s very difficult to predict because journalism changes so quickly. What I can say is that we always try to look at – and keep up with – the developments. For example, now we’re thinking about using TikTok. Should we do something with that? We’re also working on a podcast. Is that the future? Those kinds of things are new to us. We’re eager to explore as much as possible. What matters is that we continue to reach all our target audiences with quality journalism. It’s just the way we do that that keeps changing.’

“What matters is that we continue to reach our target audiences with quality journalism”
Maaike Platvoet

Karina: ‘We’re now mostly talking about the future of U-Today. What do you think your future looks like?’

Maaike: ‘I always want to keep moving. That may sound weird coming from someone who has spent the past twenty years in the same place, but it doesn't feel that way to me. In all those years I have participated in all sorts of courses and trainings, which have brought me a lot. Both on a personal and professional level. Very cool that this is possible at UT. It's hard to say what else I really want to do during my career – I’m not a fan of bucket lists –, but I want to continue to develop as a manager regardless. I’m starting with a training on coaching leadership soon.’

Karina: ‘What kind of manager are you?’

 

Maaike: ‘I hope my team sees me as a transparent and open manager. Someone who’s not above it, but who cooperates. I dare to make decisions and my door is always open. I think it’s important that I’m approachable, take good care of my team, and I want colleagues to feel good about themselves. Only then can you perform under pressure and bring out the best in each other. We regularly have lunch together, go on trips, and laugh a lot with each other. We need that to put things in perspective from time to time. By the way, I think you're a good interviewer, Karina. Can't you come and work with us, haha?’

Karina: ‘What a nice compliment. I also really enjoy doing it. I've interviewed and written quite a bit in the past, so I have some experience with it. Nice to hear so much about you, Maaike. Thanks for that. I've heard a lot of new things, even though I thought I already knew a lot about your work!’

Maaike: ‘Good to hear. Thanks for the fun conversation!’

Maaike Platvoet (1977)

graduated in 2000 as a journalist at Windesheim University of Applied Sciences. She did so with a graduation assignment at the Twentsche Courant Tubantia, where she was subsequently given various contracts. Maaike got to know UT through her work as an employee at the internship office. In 2002 she started working at UT news, which is now called U-Today. After working there as a journalist for years, she has been Editor-in-Chief since 2016. She monitors the quality of the website, the magazines, and the specials. In addition, as secretary she is part of the Kring van Hoofdredacteuren Hoger Onderwijs.

Karina Bakker (1980)

studied Applied Communication Sciences at UT. After graduating in 2003, she worked as a communications manager at the international tech firm Thales. After that, she worked as a communications adviser at the ROC Twente. She is completely captivated by the world of education and campuses, and has been working as a (student and internal) communications adviser at UT for nearly fourteen years.