Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Comments: TH!NK ABOUT IT Bloggers Start Interviewing MEPs

I've been commenting a lot on the TH!NK ABOUT IT site recently. I promise I do comment on other blogs, and you're probably all bored about me banging on about TH!NK ABOUT IT all the time, but I've been really impressed by both the quality and quantity of posts coming out of that site.

Today, for some reason, was a great day for interesting posts in the EU blogosphere, and a good number of them came from TH!NK. That project really has become the centre of the indy EU blogosphere in many ways (must. stop. over-using. the. word. blogo. sphere.)

Unlike most EU blogs, TH!NK ABOUT IT bloggers are not blogging as part of an institution or political party. Sure, they're being encouraged by the European Journalism Centre, but there're still writing independently of it. I really hope that at least some of them keep their taste for EU blogging and continue posting after the EU competition.

In fact, things are really starting to get very interesting over at the TH!NK ABOUT IT project. Not only is the daily post count rising, but the latest evolution of the project has seen more bloggers start carrying out filmed and written interviews with members of the public (usually fellow students) and, more impressively, with MEPs! Although this gives MEPs a chance to propagandise a bit with (mostly) unexperienced proto-journalists, it's also an example of EU bloggers doing actual primary research instead of just analysis!

Bart Staes managed to score an interview with a Belgian Green MEP and asked some very interesting questions (including a couple of tough-ish questions, such as: "Why are Greens needed if the other parties put these three crises on their agenda too?") [EDIT: Bart Staes is actually the name of the MEP! The blogger's name is Veerle Vrindts and "he" is actually a "she"! Sorry, Veerle! This is what I get for not reading things properly!] His [EDIT: HER!!] post can be read here.

I left a comment on his [EDIT: her] blog, encouraging him [EDIT: her] to try and get more interviews and asking him [EDIT: her] to share some tips so that other TH!NK bloggers will have an idea about how to go about setting up their own interviews with MEPs.

Here's my comment:

"Great job, Bart!

More and more TH!NK bloggers are actually getting out there and doing original journalism - conducting interviews with the public and with MEPs! That’s exactly what we need! (Nobody else is covering the EU elections, so you guys should do it!) :D

Tell us a little about how you went about your interview, though. Did you have a tape recorder? A camera? Did you take notes with a pen and paper? Did you have your questions pre-prepared, or did you think them up on the spot?



Frank Schnittger posted a very interesting analysis here on the current situation facing Libertas, the anti-Lisbon Treaty party. What most interested me, though, was that Frank has managed to arrange an interview with a politician and is asking his readers to submit questions. Not only would it be great if TH!NK bloggers organised more interviews with MEPs, but if they all asked readers for question submissions it would be fantastic! I'm not sure if people will take Frank up on his offer (it's difficult to think up good questions when you're not familiar with the politics!) but I'd strongly encourage everyone to use the opportunity!

I left a comment on his blog chastising him for not making a bigger deal about his interview:

"Hi, Frank!

Great article - very well written!

I have one teeny piece of criticism, Frank… it’s that you wrote this very interesting article about Libertas, and then RIGHT AT THE VERY END you have a miniscule paragraph about how you will be interviewing a Fianna Fáil politician and you’re happy to take questions from your readers!!

When is your interview? Please, please, if you have time, put together a seperate post briefly profiling Dick Roche and asking for people to submit questions! This is a great opportunity and really deserves to be another post in itself. At the moment, your Libertas analysis is distracting from it!

Other than that, good stuff!


In contrast to the good proto-journalism being carried out by TH!NK bloggers, there were a couple of posts bemoaning the lack of attention the mainstream media is giving the EU elections, and the lack of campaigning by parties. To think! A bunch of grubby bloggers putting the mainstream to shame!

Eamonn Fitzgerald (here) spotted what might be Italy's first EU election poster in Rome.

My comment:

"Woo hoo! If I’m not mistaken, you’ve spotted Italy’s first EU election poster! And it’s all about… national politics.

Hehe, well - can’t complain! At least “Elezioni Europee” is mentioned!"

And Etan Smallman (on his blog here) noticed a Conservative Party EU election poster in the UK.

My comment:

Hi, Etan!

This is an interesting poster. The slogan “give us a referendum” makes it sound to me like the Tories are demanding a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU!

Of course, they’re actually only talking about a referendum on Lisbon.

This might just be the way I’m interpreting the poster, but I’m sure the Conservatives are going for the Eurosceptic vote.

Well - at least they’ve actually started campaigning!

I look forward to more posts like these!

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