FOP logo

Can you review an event if you are part of the panel itself?  Not sure that you can, or even if it is wise, but I guess I’m going to do it anyway.

Anyway, the European Parliament Information Office in Edinburgh co-organised an event at the Festival of Politics on Thursday (25th) entitled “Reporting Europe in the Age of New Media”.  I was invited onto the panel as co-editor of Better Nation, and sat alongside Iain Macwhirter, one of Scotland’s pre-eminent journalists, David Eyre, a news producer for BBC Alba and Udo Seiwert-Fauti, a German who works in media in the European Parliament and has keen links with Scotland, with the event chaired by Labour MEP Catherine Stihler.

I guess the idea was to talk about how reporting of what the European Parliament does has changed since the advent of 24-hour news coverage, the decline in traditional media outlets and the rise of blogging/ tweeting.  I kind of focused on the opportunities new media has presented for representatives at the European level in terms of providing a direct link to constituents, to allow easier engagement on issues and to actually get the message from Strasbourg and Brussels back to their homes – something which has been distinctly lacking in coverage from the mainstream media.  But there are also issues with the instant nature of new media – the occasional tendency to “write now and think later” which, for some representatives makes new media more trouble than it is worth.

The question and answer session which followed focused on how to use Twitter – and in particular, how to filter out the “lowest common denominator” stuff while still letting new media give you the quality that you might look for in a broadsheet; how “new media” might allow citizen “journalists” (like bloggers) to go deeper into an issue, but to provide breadth of readership, it still requires “old media” to do so; how new media might be used to engage the younger generation in politics; how Europe can feel a bit closer in reporting online; and various other topics.

Anyway, I can’t speak for the audience, but I enjoyed the session (evidence in the picture below!) and I hope it was a worthwhile session for them to attend.  Also, thanks to James Temple-Smithson of the European Parliament’s Office in Edinburgh for the invitation to participate.  If you are really interested, there should be a recording of the event available at some point soon.

PS – This is a double whammy of unusual-ness:  A “review post” that was written by Malc.  Don’t worry – normal service (a guest post) will be resumed later today!