‘In Brussels No One Can Hear You Scream’

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If you are interested in politics, journalism and communications then you are probably a big fan of Borgen – the Danish TV show about a female politician and the reporters, officials and spin-doctors circling around her.

As I was struggling with the opening paragraph of a book chapter I’m writing on reporting the European Union, I remembered a scene from an earlier episode of Borgen – entitled ‘In Brussels No One Can Hear You Scream’ – that speaks volumes about how the EU is viewed by large chunks of the press and public.

Journalist Katrine Fonsmark believes she can reveal who Prime Minister Birgitte Nyborg is going to nominate as the next Danish commissioner to the EU. It is a scoop, so at the daily editorial meeting of her populist newspaper Ekspres, she proposes to run with it to fellow reporter Hanne Holm and Editor-in-chief Michael Laugesen.

This is a transcript of what follows:

Laugesen: No one wants to read about the EU. It’s too complicated and unsexy.

Holm: Complicated? Oh come on, the prime minister is appointing a commissioner.

Laugesen: The Danes know nothing about it.

Fonsmark: So let’s enlighten them. The Commission helps legislate in the EU. Let’s write about it.

Laugesen: People only want to hear about salaries and corruption in the EU.

Anyone who has tried to report the EU for a newspaper outside Brussels will recognise Laugesen’s reaction. But is it necessarily true – let alone right? Does the public only want to hear about ‘salaries and corruption’ in the EU? Is Europe simply too ‘complicated and unsexy’ for readers and viewers?

With just over six months until the next European Parliament elections and the prospect of a referendum on EU membership looming in Britain, these questions matter. So we’d like to know whether you think reporting the EU is ‘mission impossible’ or a challenge journalists and editors simply cannot ignore?



Next Course: How to Communicate

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Our next open course on Wednesday November 6 aims to teach you the basic building blocs of communicating clearly, succinctly and successfully. Over three hours -from 3 to 6 pm- we will look at:

  • What is your communications goal?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What are you central messages? And how do you get people to notice and remember them?
  • What tools will you use to convey your message?

The training will be led by Isabelle Leonard, an expert in crisis communications. It is free of charge, although we will be shooting some video of the course for our website.

If you are interested in taking part in the training, please contact us.

Mastering Social Media

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We held our first open course on social media skills on October 8, with the Maastricht-based American media trainer Becky Castle Miller giving our 15 participants many useful tips on how to make the best professional use of Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and other social media channels.Becky talked participants through different strategies for creating and managing their social media tools, using examples of how – and how not – to communicate online. But more than that, she gave participants the keys to creating an individually-tailored Social Media Action Plan – how to set goals, formulate messages and analyse audiences properly. Read More

Welcome to Clear Europe

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Thanks for taking an interest in Clear Europe. We are a young company and this is reflected in our website. Like the EU, we are a work in progress and much of the site is still under construction – hence all the Latin text! But bear with us and feel free to tell us what’s wrong – as well as what’s right. We very much look forward to working with you.