Friday 11 July 2008

EU Council presidency: Slovenia and France – Two media approaches

Until the end of June, Slovenia held the rotating EU Council presidency. For a news consumer it was easy to register, and during the presidency all the press releases dropped into my e-mail without further trouble. It was then easy to scan each headline and the first lines to see, if the e-mail required further attention (tied as it is to current writing activities).

The same methods have worked during previous presidencies.

The only troubling thing was the Slovenian use of long and bureaucratic headlines, which meant that the e-mail headline seldom said anything about the contents; only the second headline (of the press release) did that.

Since the beginning of July things have changed – for the worse.

France has high ambitions, but things have turned out messy:

France has accreditation for journalists and even for select NGO participants, but no simple system for interested citizens to keep up to date. According to some reports, journalists have encountered difficulties trying to register.

The French EU Council presidency promises a daily newsletter, but if they have sent one, I have missed it.

The French EU Council presidency offers updates on events via a reader, but this has meant that my Google reader is swamped a few times daily with scores of events (66 at the last count), old and new. Am I supposed to wade through each item a couple of times each day to find out if there is something really new? I want updates – nothing more, nothing less.

Multimedia is chic, but do I really have to follow speeches and presentations via web TV, which means an hour or so for each, instead of reading the contents in about five minutes to find out where the beef is? A few moments ago, there was still no written version of president Nicolas Sarkozy’s speech in front of the European Parliament, but I could have followed the performance live yesterday or canned today.

Elysian style high-tech sounds progressive, until you have to use it.

Please give me and other news consumers simple tools that work.

Ralf Grahn

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