What European Communicators are learning from Washington, DC
Political blogging has quickly become ingrained in
Washington, DC’s media culture. Some US political bloggers
have achieved a level of influence, visibility and editorial
quality on par with their traditional mainstream print
counterparts. Now it is catching on in Brussels.
In the past decade, blogging has given
anyone with a computer the potential to
control a news cycle. With minimal barriers
to entry, there are many influential voices in
DC’s blogging ecosystem, and the key
challenge of navigating the blogosphere is
understanding how, when and with whom
American bloggers include those in
traditional media organizations as well as
independent voices. Blogging originated
outside of traditional journalism, but the
lines have blurred, particularly with the
emergence of mainstream media bloggers.
With more people getting their news online,
journalists must increase output to ‘feed
the beast.’ Online readers are hungry for
something new and news organizations are
hungry for more page views, so bloggers
have a constant need for fresh information
and sources, providing businesses with
a new opportunity to communicate.
Today it is much easier to get coverage
of company news than it ever was, and an
editor may not even see an item before
a blogger posts it online. Publications such
as The Wall Street Journal, Forbes magazine,
The Washington Post and the Financial Times
are accepting a wider range of content.
With more channels of communication,
readers want quality news fast and preferably in real time.
Given these pressures, journalists are asking for information
on Twitter and Facebook. Others use subscription services
such as ‘Help a Reporter Out.’ This creates an opportunity for
communications professionals to become valued sources
and to place news items. This is already happening in the US,
where media and business professionals follow journalists on
Twitter and ‘befriend’ them on Facebook.
As the culture of political blogging in Brussels matures,
we will see the same trends. Brussels already has a lively
blogosphere and some blogging journalists have carved
out a reputation as great sources of
insider information, shedding light on
decision-making dynamics that evolve
behind closed doors. Jean Quatremer of
Libération is one of the best known.
It is significant that those bloggers
with most credibility in Brussels work for
established, traditional media and focus
on complex regulatory and institutional
developments for a specialized audience.
And the EU blogosphere is transient –
several well-read blogs have disappeared
as fast as they appeared. These are
probably among the reasons why a more
ingrained EU blogging culture has yet
But, if the ever-improving quality,
consistency and sectoral diversification of
EU blogging is anything to go by, this will
change. Some European institutions are
already warming to social media, and
those that do not currently acknowledge
bloggers, including those who operate
independently of traditional media,
may soon have to take notice.
Lane Hudson is a Director in Brunswick’s
Washington, DC office and has been profiled
as a Time magazine Person of the Year for his
Anthony Applewhaite JD is an Associate in Brunswick’s Washington,
DC office. He is a licensed lawyer and specialises in litigation, crisis,
regulatory and new media.
Lefteris Coroyannakis is an Executive in Brunswick’s Brussels office.
He specializes in EU and international trade law and policy.