There is strong evidence that many media across Europe are finding it a challenge to report EU policies adequately: the number of journalists accredited to the EU institutions has shrunk by one third in recent years, while the European Union has been given more responsibilities under the Lisbon Treaty.
Fondation EURACTIV, with support from other foundations, an international jury and other independent media groups, developed an innovative fellowship programme to train national and regional journalists to report on the EU from a distance and to learn ‘How to turn European stories local – and local stories European’.
The programme was designed to provide independent quality journalism across Europe, aiming for ‘up and coming’ young journalists, from across Europe, to gain experience in European Union policies and online media. The main objectives of the training were:
- Understand the policy-making process in the institutions
- Learn the tools to cover EU affairs from outside Brussels
- Create a network in Brussels
- Learn to find a local angle to an EU story
Initially, twelve journalists participated in a one-week seminar and the best six out of those twelve will be invited to spend five weeks in Brussels, in the premises of EURACTIV. EURACTIV has a team of experienced EU editors and reporters literally across the street from the Press Room of the European Commission and Council where all main EU press conferences are held.
At the core of the programme was an ‘alumni group’ which publishes cross-border European articles for their domestic/national media as well as internationally. The alumni had the opportunity for further exposure during and after the programme on the EU Journalism Fellowship Blog. All fellows were also invited to a closed Facebook group to connect, network, share, organise, ask, etc. The Robert Bosch Stiftung provided the inaugural funding in 2011 and 2012: “Despite the fact that journalists play a central role in communicating political processes and decisions taken by the European Institutions, they rarely have a well established international network. With the EU Journalism Fellowship, the Robert Bosch Stiftung aims at increasing cross-border cooperation between national media, while giving young journalists the opportunity to gain valuable experience at the European level. During their stay at Fondation EURACTIV, journalists learned to find relevant contacts and sources and understand how to use them to report on and from Brussels.”
Julia Potocka, Polish Press Agency – Polish
Julia is working with the Polish Press Agency taking care of the foreign desk for the last 3 years. Julia had gained experience of working with Brussels through ministry visits to Brussels conferences and Strasbourg events. Julia has a degree in languages and culture.
Jessica Shankleman, Business Green – English
Jessica is an experienced energy environmental journalist from the United Kingdom with knowledge of current affairs, policy and renewable energy. Jessica has notably done some freelancing for the Guardian News on renewable energy, intelligent transport technology. Jessica has a postgraduate diploma in newspaper journalism from Cardiff University.
Eliza Cloppenburg, ex-DAPD – German
Eliza brings along more than three years of work experience in print and TV journalism her longest stint with DAPD, the former biggest news agency in Germany covering politics and financial issues. She has previously done internships in London working both for BBC Television and Independent Television News. Eliza is currently working in Frankfurt with the focus on financial news.
Adrien Godet, Liberation/Ouestfrance.fr freelancer in Berlin – French
French media professional with Master’s Degree from Science Po Grenoble specialized in audiovisual work and video editing. Adrien is currently freelancing for Liberation and Ouestfrance.fr in Berlin. Adrien has good radio experience having worked with RMC Sport and interest to cover European issues.
Claire-Marie Kostman, France Bleu Alsace – French
Claire-Marie has been working with both radio and press media notably with regional Alsace Bleu. Claire-Marie has an excellent training in journalism, having completed a Masters from University of Strasbourg Centre of Journalism Education. Claire-Marie previously interned with the Die Deutsche Welle in Germany in the French newsroom of the international German broadcast radio station.
Marine Digabel, Agra-Alimentation specialist – French
Marine based in Paris works with Agra alimentation specialising in economics and agri-policy. Prior to Agra, Marine worked communications managing projects and developing promotional materials. Marie has a degree in political science and communications.
Fabien Fournier, Lyon Capitale – French
Fabien currently working with Lyon Capitale, online media covering business, politics, environment and sports. Fabien previously worked with Le Figaro and L’Express in Paris previously.
Michaela Muzikova, Hospodarska Noviny – Czech
Michaela is working with the key daily economic media in Czech Republic covering health, economics and domestic news. Michela has a degree in journalism from the Charles University in Prague from 2011.
Daniela Sala, Radio Radical – Italian
Daniela is working with Radioradicale.it, online radio covering Italian parliamentary news. Previously Daniela was contributing to various Italian media on local and national level, RaiNews 24, Tg1 to name a few. Daniela has a keen interest to grow her portfolio towards more European issues with relevance to Italian politics.
Katia Antoniadi, European current affairs – Greek
Katia has diverse experience in journalism having worked for the 2nd biggest newspaper Eleftherotypia in Greece and having freelanced notably for CNBC Europe and Norwegian Aftenposten. She is currently working with Hellada Avrio, Greece tomorrow. Katia has a Bachelor’s Degree from Athens Panteion University from 2005.
Dr Mihail Calin, Viata Medicale – Romanian
Mihail is working with Viata Medicale, Romanian medical press covering health in tow with legal issues. Mihail has a degree in Dentistry which is benefitting his career in health/medical journalism. He also has an award for “Most active medical journalist“, October 2012 – granted by UNAS (National Union of Dental Societies) and Recipient of the 2009 “Ioan Chirila” Talent of the Year Award for Best Non-Professional Sports Writer.
Gesa Mayr, Spiegel Online – German
Gesa joined the fellowship training whilst working for regional press, Kölner Stadt Anzeiger covering politics/economics, and media at the German level. Through her practical training, Gesa also worked with Radio Cologne and Deutsche Presse Agentur in Washington DC. She is now working with Spiegel Online media.
Elisa Simantke, Der Tagesspiegel – German
Elisa is responsible for the page 2 of der Tagesspiegel which brings all key news to its readership. Prior to her stint at the page 2, she did various internships with Agence France Presse, Zeit online and with some regional press in Germany. Prior to the fellow training Elisa covered EU news accompanying a German MEP to Strasbourg giving her insight into the workings of EU institutions.
Owen Stafford, UCC 98.3FM, Cork – Irish
Owen is working with UCC 98.3FM university radio channel producing and presenting EU Radio programme with contributing input from EU/Irish Political sources. Owen won a young Journalist/ Broadcaster competition, sponsored by Fine Gael/ EPP-ED for my Broadcast work “Lisbon: Yes or No” broadcast in June 2008.
Estefania de Antonio Garcia
Estefania is currently Editor-in-chief of the International Newsdesk for the Spanish Radio Television (RTVE) website, the public broadcasting company. She also collaborates as a reporter with the 24-hour TVE News Channel. Her work focuses mostly on European and Global issues, following a broad range of topics with an special interest in cooperation and human development.
Starting her career at the Greek national radio NET 105.8, Antigoni went on to work at several online publications like the Financial News Agency and Attica Press. With a storng focus on finance, business and energy, she is currently writing for a news agency focussed on energy issues: www.energypress.gr.
Katia is currently reporter and news presenter for Radio France: France-Blue Alsace (Strasbourg) and over fifteen other regional and local public-service broadcasting-stations throughout France. She focuses on general news, European Union activities and economic trends. Previously, she worked as a reporter at Deutsche Welle, Radio Florival, and Laguingette.
Nikos joins this programme with more than 4 years of practical experience across a set of diverse media platforms (print, web, television, and publishing). He holds a PhD from the London School of Economics (LSE), and is currently writing for Kathimerini, Greece’s leading newspaper and best selling broadsheet. He focuses on issues regarding international political economy, social policy, and European integration.
Nikos’ comment on the training in Brussels: “Πρ?κειται για ?να πολ? χρ?σιμο εκπαιδευτικ? πρ?γραμμα στο ευρωπα?κ? ρεπορτ?ζ, ?χι μ?νο γιατ? οι συμμετ?χοντες ?χουν την ευκαιρ?α να εξοικειωθο?ν με τη λειτουργ?α των θεσμ?ν της Ευρωπα?κ?ς ?νωσης, αλλ? κυρ?ως επειδ? κατ? τη δι?ρκει? του, μπορο?ν να χτ?σουν ?να πλο?σιο δ?κτυο επαφ?ν και πηγ?ν, στις Βρυξ?λλες.”
Example of Nikos’ work while in Brussels: Greece must remain in the Eurozone
Editing the political pages of Süddeutsche.de, the online edition of the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Kathrin is frequently confronted with EU policies and EU institutions. She focuses her work on international, as well as domestic politics. Previously, she worked as a reporter at the Passauer Neue Presse, and as press and PR officer at the Ecademy for Civic Education.
Kathrin’s comment on the training in Brussels: “Über die Institutionen der Europäischen Union zu berichten, ist eine besondere Herausforderungen. Vor Ort in Brüssel mitzuerleben, wie sich Ideen entwickeln, wie Entscheidungen entstehen, hilft ungemein. Ich kann das Trainingsprogramm der Robert-Bosch-Stiftung deshalb nur empfehlen.”
Johanna currently works for the public national radio Deutschlandfunk, editing programmes focussed on European politics, European integration and the European Union, as well as presenting several radio programmes (‘Europe today’ et al.). She also worked as a radio journalist for Deutsche Welle and for the online department of WDR.de.
Example of Johanna’s work while in Brussels: Report on the local elections in Brussels and integration policies with a portrait of a young candidate for the community council
Holding a MA in Broadcast Journalism from City University London, Joanna is currently working at the English department of Deutsche Welle as their Europe editor. She combines writing and editing with producing and occasionally presenting a weekly radio show. She has previous experience working for BBC, and EuradioNantes.
Joanna’s comment on the training in Brussels: “This fellowship is a great opportunity to live and breathe EU journalism in the heart of Brussels. Come with lots of ideas and you will have the freedom to follow them through!”
For the past 6 years, Christoph has been working for Handelsblatt, where he started as reporter and is currently editor of the companies and markets section. He graduated from the University of Hamburg, with a degree in Political Science, combined with Economics and Journalism and gained experience at Die Zeit, Wirtschaftswoche and News Frankfurt.
After graduation from the University of Latvia, where she studied Communication Science with a major in journalism, Alina started to work for the Latvian National News Agency LETA. Alina covers issues related to the politics and parliament of Latvia, following a wide range of topics. She also obtained a Master’s degree in Economics.
Jennifer currently works as political reporter for the Aberdeen Evening Express, a fast-paced, two-edition daily regional newspaper. She focuses on energy issues and regional policies, linking local issues from Europe’s energy capital Aberdeen to EU policy issues. She has previous experience at the Times, the Yorkshire Post, the Independent on Sunday, and others.
Jennifer’s comment on the training in Brussels: “Reporting from inside the Brussels media pack has been particularly instructive, as I’ve been able to learn more about nuanced issues and the best sources from more experienced journalists. The guidance and friendship of the journalists at EURACTIV has given me vital support in my work”
As a published web, print and TV journalist with more than two years experience covering European and Danish issues, Anders is currently reporting mainly for the web-publication Ugebrevet A4, focusing on issues like health care, industrial policy and the financial crisis, as data journalist. He has previously been published in Politiken, Information, and Ekstra Bladet.
Daniel is currently Editor-in-Chief for Forsal, an online publication focussed on business and financial news, where he started as online editor. He also has gained experience from working at the economic department at Thomson Reuters, and the Polish Press Agency (PAP). He is also interested in covering issues like transport and energy, and digital agenda.
Example of Daniel’s work while in Brussels: Europe’s demographic challenges and ageing society
Robert is finalizing his MA in European Studies, while at the same time writing for the Neue Zürcher Zeitung and Magazine Lyon Capitale. He will continue to write for Neue Zürcher Zeitung, where he will benefit from his earlier experience there, but also from his experience at the Deutsche Presse Agentur and the Märkische Oderzeitung.
Antoine, Prune, Freelance Journalist
Heimpel, Daniela, Freelance Journalist
Barthélémy, Simon, L’Alsace-Le Pays
Hierländer, Jeannine, Die Presse
Binois, Emilie, Autoactu.com
Kuck, Miriam, Freelance Journalist
Dutkowski, Filip, Polish Press Agency (PAP)
Pajdak, Karolina, BILD
Eickhorn, Christina, Freelance Journalist
Rodrigo, Vicente, Freelance Journalist
Gieffers, Hanna, Tagesspiegel
Scherbel-Ball, Naomi, BBC
The international jury consisted of Mona Hinz (Robert Bosch Stiftung), Quentin Dickinson (Radio France), Aidan White (former Sec Gen of AEJ/IFJ), Ann Cahill (President of International Press Association), Peter Kramer (European Business Review), Christophe Leclercq (Fondation EURACTIV), Julian Oliver (Fondation EURACTIV), Joachim Weidemann (DPA), and Ewald König (Europäische Multiplikatoren-Medien).
The initial one-week seminar included training on contemporary case-studies and new journalism techniques. Topics included: How to turn EU stories local – and local stories European, ‘Europe 2020’, the financial crisis and reforms as well as energy policy.
Based on journalists’ active participation, their basic understanding of EU institutions and policy making, their capacity to find relevant angles to story ideas and their networking capacities shown during the seminar, six journalists were selected for five-week work experience with Fondation EURACTIV in Brussels.
This intense training phase provided a unique opportunity to live and breathe EU journalism right in the centre of Europe within a team of experienced, international reporters.
During the training weeks, journalists continued to produce stories for their home media. They had the chance to cover both areas of their own expertise (related to their home media) or unrelated policy areas if they wish. In addition, a guided trip to a Strasbourg European parliamentary week will be organised and the training period in Brussels should coincide with a EU Summit.
Regular coaching was provided from the EURACTIV’s managing editor, as well as external coaches from other Brussels based media.
- Minimum of 3 and no more than 5 years of journalism experience;
- Currently employed by a media outside Brussels and full support of their employer to participate in the programme;
- Austrian, British, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French German, Greek, Italian, Polish, Slovak or Spanish nationality;
- Strong interest in European issues;
- Very good oral and written English.