hero image Janna



Meet Janna, a passionate 27-year-old from Amsterdam with a deep interest in sociology and journalism. Initially drawn to traditional journalism as a means to connect people, she soon discovered it wasn't the right fit for her. Despite her active social life, the solitary nature of the work left her feeling isolated. Now, she has shifted her focus to public speaking and aims to reach young people as a 'newsfluencer' through her innovative platform, @snackpaper_. Be inspired by Janna’s journey as she embraces new ways to fulfill her ambitions and make a significant impact.

Studiosessie-221 copy 2 3 2
When you were freelancing, why did you feel journalism wasn't the right fit for you?
I started with a clear vision of becoming a serious journalist. I enjoyed writing about everyday topics: things that might not immediately catch your eye but are interesting when you delve deeper – like stories about how our phone addiction is similar to substance addiction and how we’re having more unprotected sex and getting more STDs. I always tried to make my stories human and relevant by connecting them to sociological research. Although I wrote for well-known outlets like Het Parool and VICE, I wasn’t happy because I often felt lonely in the process. Feedback was limited, and I was insecure about my pieces. What struck me was that I was mostly focusing on earning my place in the journalism industry, hoping for approval from respected journalists. What also annoyed me was that not many people that I initially wrote the articles for – people of my age group –  were actually reading them. When I posted my stories on social media, I received positive reactions from my peers, but none of them ever read the whole story. Those two insights troubled me. I thought: isn’t journalism supposed to be for – and read by – the people that it’s meant for?  
By stepping away from writing, wouldn’t you only reduce your chances of reaching people?
Making the decision to quit writing was surprisingly freeing. I had struggled with trying to fit into the typical image of a journalist – it just never really suited me. At the same time, I decided to give up alcohol and drugs, which remarkably cleared my mind, allowing me to foster new ideas and improve my self-image. This personal change led me to realize that my journey might need to diverge from the conventional paths in journalism. Moreover, it became clear to me that it wasn’t just me who was failing to connect with the younger audience—journalism as a whole seemed to be losing its grip on the youth, despite their keen interest in the world around them. Coupled with my frustration over how deeply young people, myself included—I’m a real doom-scroller–, were immersed in social media, I was inspired to create @snackpaper_. This platform is designed to bridge the gap, leveraging social media’s pervasive influence to engage young people with news in a format that resonates with them. So to answer your question, I feel like my chances of reaching the right people will only increase! 
Studiosessie-468 copy
And what is @snackpaper_?
@snackpaper_, a project of the Jong Belezen Foundation that I co-founded with three friends, aims to reach young audiences with journalistic content, transforming newspaper content into engaging videos on social media: Instagram, TikTok and YouTube Short. We use influencer strategies to share this content. 
"My ambitions extend beyond our borders, seeking collaborations with like-minded individuals to strengthen our initiatives. Our ultimate goal is to foster greater understanding among people"
You call yourself a doom-scroller, but you still choose social media as a platform to achieve your goals. Why is that?
Haha, true. I can really lose myself in scrolling through TikTok videos, hours get lost—which I hate. But don’t we all? Social media has immense power. It can completely consume us even more than books or newspapers ever did. Despite the negative aspects they can have on us – by detaching us from the real world –  I believe we can use that power as an opportunity: to spread common knowledge and create connections. That’s what we tend to do with @snackpaper_. I thought if we’re already spending so much time on these apps, why not combine the endless scrolling with good pieces from reputable journalists and media? 
Studiosessie-022 copy 2 4
As a freelancer, you felt lonely. How is that now, since you work with a team? 
As the executive director of our foundation, I now work closely with four interns. If you’ve ever entered the fourth floor of BounceSpace at Overtoom, we’re hard to miss – haha. It's inspiring to work with young people and provide them with the guidance I missed when I was starting out. Although mentoring is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the job, it also brings challenges, like constantly balancing HR tasks and my own creative focus. It's like needing eight tentacles to juggle everything. I'd love to have someone beside me who shares my vision, but we didn’t find that perfect person yet. 
Are you meant to be a boss?
Haha, that’s a good question. I think so, yes. I enjoy “being the boss”. But I'm not the boss who says, "I know better." I lead in a vulnerable way. Although I'm in charge, I know I don't always have all the answers and depend on my team. What I also love about having started my own business is how valuable my social skills have become. Connecting people comes naturally to me, so I want to keep on deploying that throughout my work in media. During my master's in journalism I learned about the forces of media, how they influence our thinking, how they create frameworks for how we interpret reality and how journalism could bridge our differences and contribute to creating a sort of common sense. I believe that traditional journalism isn't reaching its full potential at the moment, so I'm exploring new methods to enhance its impact.
Studiosessie-260 copy 3
So connecting sounds like your mission, but aren’t you worried about losing connection with yourself while constantly seeking to connect with others?
Hmmm, valid point. At times, I question the purpose of it all, especially when our efforts yield only a few likes or we receive negative comments on our videos. Social media can be a harsh environment, and running a startup means having little free time. Taking part in the so-called “rat race” can be overwhelming, and I'm not very good at relaxing, so there are moments when I do feel disconnected from myself but I’m working on that with a business coach. However, the ability to create something new every day with @snackpaper_ is a privilege many people working for a boss can only dream of. 
What about your dreams? Where will this freedom to create lead you?
I'm very optimistic about the future. My role as a public speaker complements my work at @snackpaper_, allowing me direct interaction with audiences. I aim to expand my presence at events focused on news literacy and journalism to establish myself as an authority in the field. While the Netherlands is progressive in media trust, there remains widespread misunderstanding about different perspectives. I see the way we approach the news at @snackpaper_, with combining influencer methods and journalism – as “newsfluencers” – as a vital tool to bridge these gaps. My ambitions extend beyond our borders, seeking collaborations with like-minded individuals to strengthen our initiatives. Our ultimate goal is to foster greater understanding among people. This journey with @snackpaper_ is just the beginning.
Text: Romy Klaassen