A vision for the NOS news

News needs to be serious, but it needs to be human too. We helped bring a new vision to the most-watched Dutch TV news show while maintaining objectivity.

1,8 mln

viewers per broadcast


most trusted news source in the Netherlands

What was the challenge?

The Dutch 8 o’ clock news program (NOS Journaal) asked us in 2011 to solve a dilemma. Their flagship program was still the most watched and respected news program in the Netherlands. But they also received signals that viewers found it formal and aloof, which led more viewers switch to commercial news programs, where they saw more emotion and human interest. NOS asked us how they could bring more emotion and excitement in the presentation of their news program, without compromising their objectivity and reputation.

We conducted short interviews with both newsmakers and viewers to explore their deep needs and values about the news.

What did we discover?

The analysis of the interviews revealed the dilemmas that both groups experienced. Television news increasingly has to compete with the constant stream of news from the internet and social media. The NOS news wants to be an objective guide in that landscape, but not an explanatory teacher. Form is becoming increasingly important but should never determine the content.

What did we deliver?

We presented a new vision for the news. It was about two things: using form and decor to distinguish news items, and the new role of the newsreader. In the old format, the newsreader sat in the middle, introducing each news item on a screen in the same way. In the new news, the credo became ‘form follows content’. The newscaster stood and walked, and could use the new, huge screen in a variety of ways. A political event, a bomb attack or a museum opening are completely different events, each requiring a different form of presentation. In this vision, the newscaster became a travel guide: still an objective expert, but someone who takes you by the hand to show you, instead of a teacher who tells you about it.

In the new decor, form and content come together even better. Larger screens and the most modern technology give the editors more possibilities to let the image speak and to discuss the meaning of news facts.

– Marcel Gelauff
Chief editor NOS News

What was the impact for the client?

The vision led to a new decor and presentation format. As is often the case with radical innovation, this initially generated some resistance and concerned phone calls from viewers who suddenly saw their familiar news differently after thirty years. But soon fans and critics agreed: this is the future of news presentation. Not long after, the commercial newsmakers copied the format.

Service design

The service we use for this project

Work smarter and deliver better solutions by designing services built around actual humans and actual human behavior.

More about service design

Would you like to know more about us?

Contact us to find out how we can help you!

Get in touch