• scissors
    March 15th, 2011EuropasionariaBrussels, Life

    I’ve been quite silent on this blog in the past two months… This is because I’ve moved from one commune of Brussels, Etterbeek, to another commune of Brussels, Ixelles. In Paris the town’s districts have numbers; in Brussels they have names. Where it gets complicated is that there is a Brussels commune called Brussels. It’s Brussels, Brussels, the oldest district of the city. It’s tiny. All around it, the communes have different names. I am now a proud inhabitant of Ixelles, Brussels, where you can find some of the most beautiful Art Nouveau buildings.

    9 & 11 rue Vilain XIIII © Fonk/Twitter

     

    Finding a place in Brussels is not that difficult … but a move is a BIG DEAL. You’ve got to find boxes, kind friends to carry them, a moving van, a driver, sign all kinds of paper at the bank, cancel your Internet subscription – which took me half an hour over the phone, find a new Internet provider – it took me a month to get the connection active, terminate your current renting agreement, clean up the mess that’s kept on growing in your old place for years, buy furniture, assemble your furniture, tell the various organisations and institutions that still like to send you post mail that you’ve moved, go register at your new commune, etc, etc, etc… as my favourite online cartoon Hyperbole and a Half put it, you kind of feel like that every day for two months: “I did three things yesterday! Now I’m supposed to keep doing things? It’s like the things never end!”

    To make a long story short, I’ve been busy preparing my move for a month, and I’ve been Internet-less since then. Tough for a blogger. The good news is: I should finally get the Internet tomorrow. Hurrayyy!

     

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  • 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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