• That’s one small step for the Council, one giant leap for the blogosphere

    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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5 responses to “That’s one small step for the Council, one giant leap for the blogosphere” RSS icon

  • Congrats to you and Ron on this project.

    Have added this post to the blogtour, but now getting slightly nervous about making an open-ended commitment to curating my blogtour until the end of time! ;-(

    As I mention in my post, we need better machine-aided curation tools for the euroglobbosphere …


  • hey, congratulations! While my own blogging on EU issues is somewhat constrained at present, it’s really good to know that others are out there and now officially able to share what Council decision-making is about. It’s important to me because I see it as part of the democratic process which citizens ought to be able to understand, so the more freedom you have to explain, the better. Good stuff, and hope the project continues to do well.


  • Sorry guys,but this all sounds abit lets all pat each other on the back as we were let into the ‘inner sanction of the EU Council’. Really sounds like a cozy EU bloggers club to me in reality?

    How about the EU Council opening there closed doors to there citizens out there that they are supposed to serve? OMG the great unwashed being allowed into the labyrinth of EU institutions? Now that’s real transparency that the EU Council would have problems even saying the words, or even thinking about?

    Sometimes think many EU bloggers are just frustrated want to be journalists at heart; and journalists don’t particularly like bloggers,as they feel bloggers are slowly stealing there profession away from them.

    The truth is the EU institution’s need to stop being so close minded with its citizens, and then maybe Europeans would stop disliking the EU?


    • Europasionaria

      Cosy it is, and indeed there are not many of us but anyone is welcome to join, something we are trying to promote every day in our free time, aside our day jobs.

      The whole point of my writing a bilingual blog is to try to open up beyond the EU bubble. And believe, it’s a lot of work to write in 2 languages.

      Open up the Council to all citizens to walk freely in its corridors? Yeah right, as if that would ever happen. It’s full of ministers there and these people are usually slightly concerned about their physical safety, and rightly so.

      A final point: I don’t want to be a journalist and I don’t think bloggers usually want to. It’s much more fun to blog 😉


  • @jolyonwagg1, your comment is more or less a copy/paste from your comment on the bloggingportal post covering the same subject (http://www.bloggingportal.eu/blog/pilot-project-blogger-accreditation).

    A number of us answered it there. As you’d see if you had bothered to check, most of us at least partly agree with your point about the Brussels Bubble.

    But it’s open to anyone – if it’s cosy, that’s only because it’s so small (click me to see a recent post about scaling up EU social media).

    Your comment about ‘the great unwashed being allowed into the labyrinth of EU institutions’ doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. How often do journalists and bloggers and other unwashed people get access to national Cabinet meetings? When was anyone prevented from entering the European Parliament?

    Totally agree re: the bloggers vs journalists point as a generalisation. It doesn’t apply to *all* bloggers and journalists, however – many bloggers aren’t wannabe hacks (I’m not), and many journalists blog.

    The distinction has become meaningless – the discussion regarding ‘blogger accreditation’ should simply be a discussion about ‘accreditation’.


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