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.
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.