Saturday

4th Feb 2023

Editorial

Editor's weekly digest: Pan-European media, or lack thereof

  • (Photo: Nikolaj Bock/norden.org)
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The career path in journalism is kind of strange. If you're a good journalist, the only way 'upwards' is to be promoted to editor, and then publisher, with each step leaving you with less time to actually write things and do journalism.

Back in 2014, Gawker writer Hamilton Nolan — now a fantastic labour reporter — wrote what can be described as a screed on this:

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"Here is the traditional career track for someone employed in journalism: first, you are a writer. If you hang on, and don't wash out, and manage not to get laid off, and don't alienate too many people, at some point you will be promoted to an editor position. It is really a two-step career journey, in the writing world. Writing, then editing. You don't have to accept a promotion to an editing position of course. You don't have to send your kids to college and pay a mortgage, necessarily. If you want to get regular promotions and raises, you will, for the most part, accept the fact that your path takes you away from writing and into editing, in some form. The number of pure writing positions that offer salaries as high as top editing positions is vanishingly small. Most well-paid writers are celebrities in the writing world. That is how few of them there are."

It's a fun piece to read. And needless to say, I chose the mortgage.

Anyway, over the holiday, with everybody off, I found an opportunity to finally do some writing and reporting.

A big question I've always had is why, as the EU or more broadly Europe, we don't have some kind of collective public broadcasting service.

We share money. We can travel freely and work across a large part of the continent. But if you want news or stories about (people in) other EU countries that are not tainted by a national outlook, you're out of luck.

Yes we have Euronews (which has been mostly bought up by a Portuguese investment firm) and Arte (which broadcasts almost exclusively in French and German), but not much else outside of industry niches (e.g. Potatoworld.eu or EUobserver, for that matter).

That's not for lack of trying. In past few years, quite a few publications with an explicitly pan-European outlook have started, taking aim at a younger, borderless audience interested in stories from around Europe.

For the article I spoke to the founders of these publications and the difficulties they're facing in trying to create an outlet for a pan-European audience.

The short answer (as always) is money, or lack thereof. The long answer is a bit more nuanced, and has to do with factors like language, distribution and topic selection.

In other news: Sweden. The Swedish EU presidency is hosting journalists and policy makers on a nice little PR trip, with convenient news like the discovery of Europe's largest deposit of rare earth metals coming out, and inconvenient opinions about how far right parties in Sweden could affect the presidency. And a tug of war in Nato accession talks, with both Turkey and Hungary vying for who can be the biggest hurdle in signing off on Sweden's membership.

Finally, we're welcoming a new reporter to the team, Paula Soler Rodríguez, who will be focusing on labour and tax issues in the EU. Say hi!

Onwards to the stories you should not have missed this week.

Rule of Law

EU Parliament to present 14 point anti-corruption reform

The European Parliament is set to unveil proposals to crack down on corruption following the on-going scandal over alleged Qatari and Morocco influence peddling.

Read it.

Sweden expects Hungary to soon ratify its Nato membership

Sweden is demanding Hungary ratify its Nato accession, following fears Budapest may leverage rule of law and frozen EU funds in exchange.

Read it.

Migration

Greece seeking possible jail for aid workers in flawed case

Some 24 are facing trial in Mytilene, on the island of Lesbos, on charges related to Emergency Response Center International (ERCI), a registered NGO that had in the past assisted the Greek Coast Guard in rescue operations.

Read it.

MEP pension fund invested in cluster munition arms industry

The European Parliament's voluntary pension scheme held 14,900 shares in Raytheon in 2008 with a market value of $547,000, despite being blacklisted by Norway's sovereign wealth in 2005 for producing and selling cluster munitions.

Read it.

Labour

Labour shortage prompts EU appeal for non-EU workers

The European Commission is hoping to mitigate regional and industry-specific labour shortages with the launch of a new mechanism to facilitate the arrival of workers from third countries.

Read it.

Media

Building pan-European media: why is it so hard?

Pan-European media could show citizens of Europe that the EU is not just a bureaucracy machine that produces rules, but a society made up of people who might share some similarities with you — or not. But does it exist?

Read it.

Ukraine war

Estonia expels more Russian diplomats in model for EU

EU countries should consider a new round of Russian diplomatic expulsions, Estonia has said after ejecting 21 more Russians.

Read it.

Opinion

How NOT to write an op-ed

We published this one over the holidays, but it's still totally relevant for anyone seeking to publish an opinion piece with us. It's also just a fun read.

Read it.

As always, thank you to all new subscribers to this newsletter, and also as always, my various inboxes are open for feedback, suggestions, tips, leaks, ideas and gossip — now also on Mastodon.

Looking forward to this year.

See you next week,

Alejandro

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