Tag Archives: foreign press association

Wonderful World

We had a briefing today in the office with members of the Foreign Press Association which brings together the non-UK media based in London. It goes quite well with today’s Charlemagne blog-post about journalists in Brussels (see also today’s links). The reason we organised the briefing was a feeling, borne out by discussions with the FPA, that more and more foreign (read mainly extra-EU) correspondents are covering EU issues from London and withdrawing full-time correspondents from Brussels, and they need someone to explain a bit how thigns work and who to talk to. We had several Japanese outlets, Canadian, Nigerian, Chinese, Indian, but also Greek and French It’s interesting for us here, because it means that we need to consider the international and non-UK angle of stories much more than colleagues in other EU capitals. It also means that Commissioners’ media teams should see a visit to London as an opportunity to reach out beyond the UK media scene. It’s not going to be easy, but I hope that we will be able to provide a service to that group as well as the traditional UK media that we work with.

Added 16.19 on 16 March: Just to be 100% clear. I worked as a Spokesperson in Brussels for years and know how important the press corps there is to getting quality coverage of the EU into the media here. I am certainly not advocating people moving their correspondents from Brussels. Having said that, such decisions once taken, for whatever reason, will have a consequence for my work here and I am happy to do what I can to make the connections with those in Brussels and elsewhere in the EU set-up that can help people working out of London understand the issues in their entirety.

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Local hero(es)

I attended an interesting meeting this morning at the Westminster Media Forum, on the future of local media. I missed the beginning, and am not sure what the rules it was done under, so won’t go into too much detail about who said what. But it was extremely interesting. It focused on issues of delivery (there was a fairly mind-blowing session by some top bod at Ofcom about spectrum allocation, which was liberally sprinkled with acronyms!) and also content. There was someone from an organisation called mysociety.org which is definitely worth knowing about. A source of information for any journalist, but especially ones looking at local issues. Another speaker raised an issue that I think is very topical: How will the rise in User Generated Content, on-line information etc impact on the “watchdog” role of journalists – the role they play in holding public authorities, businesses and others to account?

It did get me thinking (you’ll be surprised to hear…) about the terms we use. Like here, you might conceive of a hierarchy of local/regional/national/European. But so many things that we deal with are regional or national stories without ever being national. Not just in terms of the work with do with local bodies to fund local projects, but also thinks like fishing quotas, or electronic identification of sheep or ship dismantling. That was why I wanted to go along to the event, and why someone in our team will from next year be looking at developing our services for local media.

We had our Christmas reception last night, with lots of the people we’ve worked with during the year there. For the press section that meant our media monitoring people, the Foreign Press Association, the Association of European Journalists, past team members (both recent and longer ago), people from the Arsenal Double Club, working journalists (Brian Hanrahan added a bit of celebrity to the event!),a couple of guys from the National Theatre. I also met some new people – a researcher working on a European project, a nice Dutch woman from a think-tank and a somewhat over-exuberant architect! It was a really pleasant evening, and also crazy to see how many people there are working in this fairly niche area that I just don’t know!

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