• scissors
    March 15th, 2011EuropasionariaEuroblogosphere, Europe

    Or is it the opposite? Last week with fellow Blogging Portal editor Ronny Patz, we became the first bloggers to be granted an accreditation from the Council. Actually, it was also the first time bloggers got press accreditation to a European institution.

    A blogger tweeting with a press accreditation. Welcome to 21st century communication!

    We covered the Competitiveness Council for 2 days – well actually Ronny covered 2 days, I could only cover the second morning. This happened thanks to the spokespeople of the Hungarian presidency aka Kovács & Kováts, whom we’ve met a few times since the beginning of the year to discuss the activities they could do online. Trust was built throughout these initial meetings. And with a little push from our two supporters, we got offered accreditations as a pilot project. This time only Ronny and I could go. Well yes, the other bloggers are either not Brussels-based or had day commitments they couldn’t get away from.

    Dana_Council, EU Girl Geek and Council insider, showed us around the building and even gave us the opportunity to visit the Council meeting room, yes the one where you usually see Nicolas Sarkozy giving a pat on the back of fellow heads of State.

    Then we spent most of our time in the Council’s press room – well one of the many Council press rooms – following the Council live, tweeting and blogging it (read here our coverage of day 1 and day 2). It was fun to be there with journalists, interesting to see how they work and to get a feel of the overall vibes of a Council.

    For the sake of the blogosphere, we behaved so hopefully this pilot will open the door to more regular blogger participation in this kind of event. But then, what bloggers should get an accreditation? What should be the criteria? This is quite a Pandora’s box. Many discussions have already taken place on this topic and many will in the future. I’d be interested in knowing your views on that.

    From our experience at the Council, I see a few bloggers’ qualities that can bring value in getting them to cover European institutions’ events:

    • We don’t have a format constraint. We can blog as we wish, about what we want, using the tone we like. As a consequence, what we do is more spontaneous and human.
    • Being outsiders, we have a different view on things. We get surprised at the things around us and talk about details of the institution’s workings journalists wouldn’t cover for news outlets as it would probably not get the interest of a wide public.
    • One big plus was our live tweeting. Minute after minute we tweeted details of the Council and our impressions. As @Wed2EU put it, we helped EU geeks stay much closer than usual to the Council’s action.

    I hope we opened a door. Let’s see what happens in the future!

    Would you like to know more? Mathew Lowry is keeping track of all that’s written on this pilot project.

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  • scissors
    February 7th, 2011EuropasionariaEurope

    The spokespeople of the Hungarian presidency have reached out to the Blogging Portal editors to start a discussion on how to use online media to talk about the Council’s work. It has to be said that they got in touch with us long before the controversy around the Hungarian media law started, and that these people are not entitled to speak about it as of course, it’s a national matter and their mandate is to talk about EU matters.

    After long debates within the Blogging Portal editor team, we decided to go and see what they wanted to talk about with us.

    A small delegation of us went and met them a week ago. We had a great meeting, truly fun and inspiring. After 2 hours of open-hearted conversation, Gergely Polner, our host, stood up and I realised he was wearing trainers, something that was quite in contradiction with the classic suit and tie outfit he was wearing. Yes diplomats wear trainers too… because they are people too, just like the rest of us. Something most commentators of public life often forget.

    Gergely Polner and Marton Hajdu have decided to open up a blog to share their experience as spokespeople of the EU presidency. It’s called Kovács & Kováts as a reference to the Tintin characters of Thomson and Thompson, Dupond and Dupont in French. The challenge: telling their own experience of the Council using the voice of people and not only that of institution representatives. Their initiative is truly innovative. Older generations of diplomats might consider it a “faux pas”, as Kovács & Kováts put it on their blog. Indeed, diplomats just as any other civil servants are not supposed to express their personal views on things. So how can they open a blog where articles are by definition personal? It is quite a challenge, indeed. But, actually in today’s world there’s not really another way. So long live their blog and let it show the way to future Council presidency spokespeople.

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