Central Europe Activ

I have posted about a European blogging competition, Th!nk about it, which will include bloggers from all EU member states during the European Parliamentary elections. The European Journalism Cente has invited the competitiors and the four editors of the common blogging platform (one being myself) for a two days session in Brussels. I think some of the issues covered during the event are interesting for any Eurobloggers, so here is a coverage.

In the morning session we had moderated by Kozmopolito with three professional Eurobloggers on a panel discussion. Mark Mandell (BBC Brussels correspondent – his blog post about the event here) There are two probably interesting topics in this election, the campaign of the Irish Euroskeptic Libertas, which, as a commenter ironised, will be the only Pan European party you can vote to. The other thing is the economic crisis, which effect voters in all countries at the same time. So this time there might be a more coherent European campaign. Tony Barber (Financial Times, Brussels – his post about the even there) This will be the first European election amidst a deep economic crisis, probably the first time which could probably tackled only on a Pan-European basis. Stefan Happer (brusselsmedia.eu) gave an overview of the place of the Euroblogging within the European media, and enounced a very clever new tool, blogginportal.eu.

Both professional media bloggers use comments as looking at how their judgement is biased or opinion developed. They usually get very valuable comments from the countries there article is covering. They also have no restrictions on linking to any blogs. Mark Mandell thinks that the European polity is so complex and legislation is so complex that there are no real breaking news. Information that is leaked or exclusive does not necessarily break through the news desks. What is news in Brussels is a long way to effect life in the member states. Mark Mandell thinks that the European blogs are not exotic enough like international correspondents but it is also far away from the national agenda. Anyhow, it is good to think about the relationshiop of the established media, its outreach to netizens and the blogosphere and blogs.

Later we had bloggers on the scene. Raymond Frenken introduced his independent European video-blog, EUX-TV, which monitors the material that is issued by the European Commission under their Audiovisual Services (available after registration for free). He made an excellent case for using videos in blogs and also argued for the diminished costs of producing moving images, and also the well-known power of moving images. A very good and funny example was made by the remix of a Polish minister.

Julian Popov made a centerprice of a great presentation about Adam Brickley’s blog sarahpalinforvp.blogspot.com. Mr. Brickley had started his blog a year before Ms Palin was chosen as the running mate of John McCain against the Obama-Biden team. This is a very good example of a good blog: somebody had an obscure and creative idea, developped slowly among people who had similar views, and at what point it broke through. Mr Popov argues that a blogger should not mimic the journalism, as a blogger ‘you should be yourself’. In political blogging, inventing and developing political plot is such a creative activity that may or may not raise interest, but you cannot be a competitior of BBC or FT. It also pays off if you promote the inventions of other people.

Michael Opgenhaffen, a Flemish online media researcher, made the controversial claim the political bloggers are in a way journalism. He also qouted the figures of his research conducted among 1000 Flemish 18-22 years-olds, out of which 3% reads blogs. He thinks that people like blogs that combine news with opinion. If I had to, I would made a counter-argument: I think the blogosphere is more about digesting news together, trying and developing opinions in a debate and not about making news.

And a good tip that came up: if you are linking non-English texts into an English blog post, include a link to Google Translate if the language is covered by the translation service. Some users may be willing to play a little bit with a source that otherwise they would not find useful anyway.

Update: Estonian fellow blogger AnTyx was thrilled by the Think About it launch. Etan Smallman has a steep learning curve. Stephen had a great time, too. Katrina worries a tiny bit about the European taxpayer money we consumed, and Frank Schnittger has an excellent round-up. Bruno also tries to promote the exhibition from his fascinating cross-EU journey.

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