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The Housing Scam Epidemic

How do rental scammers in Rotterdam operate? EM went undercover in the world of student…

Every year, the Society of Editors-in-Chief of Higher Education Magazines presents a team of editors affiliated with a Dutch higher education institution with an award for the best news story of the year. The jury made a point of emphasising that it had really, genuinely had a hard time picking a winner from the thirteen stories nominated for the award this year. According to the jury report, other articles could easily have been awarded the prize if the judges had had slightly different preferences or a slightly different focus.

What is notable is that all three articles that were awarded prizes this year focused on the subject of internationalisation. According to the jury, Erasmus Magazine’s undercover action resulted in ‘an important and shocking story on the impact of the scarcity of student accommodation and the helplessness of international students’. The editorial team was presented with €250 for its winning story.

Bad jokes

Second prize (and €150) was awarded to Universiteitskrant Groningen (UK), which posted two stories on the prejudices and bad jokes encountered by international students. “Through the survey it conducted, UK gave a voice to the international students, and the editors provided a different view of Dutch culture,” according to the judges.

University of Twente’s U-Today was awarded third prize (and €100) for an article discussing the mental health issues and social problems experienced by international students. “The editors were not afraid to take a stand, but did so in a nuanced manner,” said the jury.

This year’s Society of Editors’ Conference was held at Eindhoven University of Technology. Guest speakers included Alexander Pleiter, an assistant professor at Leiden University who was one of the initiators of the Nieuwscheckers fact-checking platform, and Eindhoven-based Professor of Human System Interaction Wijnand IJsselsteijn.