cafebabel.com: According to the international press association, there has been a 73% decrease in the number of accredited journalists in the European commission over the last five years. Do European bloggers have a role to play given this desertion?
Julien Frisch: Citizen blogs cannot replace professional journalism, since research requires time and funds. However, blogging is more diverse than one might believe. When written by professionals that work with or within European institutions, blogs can help us understand the inner workings of normally restricted government bodies like the European commission or the European council. But ultimately bloggers and journalists share the same goal: make transparent that which is not today. Why wade through European council documents when you can find it on a blog?
cafebabel.com: But regarding 'bloggingportal.eu', the bloggers are already passionate about Europe since it is often their job: How do you interest those who live outside the European bubble?
Julien Frisch: Yes, we certainly can criticise those eurobloggers who operate in a vacuum. This is exactly what we labour against. For example, our presentations at events like the European personal democracy forum (PdF) in Barcelona, and this April’s Re:publica 10 conference in Berlin, encourage euroblogging outside the Brussels bubble. Bloggingportal.eu also tries to make space on the portal for blogs in languages aside from English and French. Finally, we are constantly working to better foster pan-European discussions that go beyond the self-proclaimed euro-sphere of Brussels.
cafebabel.com: So are the European institutions that release videos on the web proof that Europe wants to open up its news?
Julien Frisch: What EuroparlTV does well are the visual messages distributed in various languages. This type of reporting in the internet age is especially important since national television leaves very little space for European issues. However, I am not convinced that the news needs to be produced directly by the institutions. Their role should be limited to making the raw audiovisual material as accessible as possible so that journalists, bloggers, citizens, and so on can later incorporate it into their own work.
National television leaves very little space for European issues
I see this as a transition stage - until the representatives are able to produce these things for themselves, journalists need to be capable of rapidly viewing the streaming transcripts of committee meetings and later editing them. By covering the European news in a professional way we will make the institutional presence in this regard less necessary. However, the risk is that this takes too much time…