Hilde Van den Bulck combines expertise in media structure and policies with expertise in media culture. Her work on media structures and policies focuses on the impact of technological, political, economic and cultural processes, especially how digitization and convergence affect legacy media. She specializes in public (service) media in that regard, recently analyzing how personalization strategies based on algorithms affect the core public media value of universality. Her most recent project focuses on American public media, especially on the potential of PBS as most trusted US institution in a post-truth era.
With regards to media culture, next to analyzing the relationships between media culture(s) and collective (national, ethnic, gender and age-related) identities, she focuses on the role of mediated communication in celebrity culture and the celebrity apparatus. Always linking media culture to media industry, she analyzes how celebrities’ ideas, words, and actions provoke mediated debates amongst fans, wider audiences and, in the case of celebrity activism, politicians and policy makers. Topics range from celebrity and health, over celebrity and BLM to celebrity and populism. As a corollary, she analyzes celebrity fandom and anti-fandom.
In 2018, Routledge published her book Celebrity Philanthropy and Activism: Mediated Interventions in the Global Public Sphere. The core content of this book is presented in this animated video:
Beyond that, for many years she had a monthly column in Belgian newspaper De Standaard and, later, on the news site of main Flemish public media institution VRT. For 12 years, she was vice chair of the Sectorial Media Council that provides policy advice to the Flemish Media Minister.
Before coming to Drexel, Hilde was a Professor of Communication Studies, Head of Department of Communication, then Associate Dean of Research and later Dean of the Social Sciences at the University of Antwerp in Belgium.