Members of the European Parliamentarians (MEPs) have a tough time of it when it comes to reaching out to voters. The ability of a voter to remember the name of their representative in a national legislature is low but digging out the name of one of the many MEPs that represent us is even harder. The national media don’t normally “get” Brussels, nor the importance of the European Parliament in this legislative juggernaut of a process. As such, local and regional press, which are admittedly widely read in many Member States, usually get the brunt of their attention.
However, MEPs are plucky creatures (you have to be to shuttle back and forth from Strasbourg and Brussels) and it seems at least some of them are turning to the latest in digital to reach out to their voters and bypass traditional media.
The centre-right EPP-ED (Parliament’s largest political group) now runs its own “news channel” on its website, which is available on both your desktop and on your mobile phone via their .mobi site. In contrast with video offerings on the ALDE and PES sites, the news channel is a weekly news round up and not simply a video of the last group press conference, which is it seems the content of PES leader Martin Schulz’ podcast.
Over on YouTube, a quick search of European Parliament related content reveals a selection of videos featuring the usual ragbag of weirdos and clips from traditional media such as Euronews. The first MEP to appear is Dutch Liberal Jules Maaten, whose video postings feature everything from Bob the Builder to UK MEP Chris Davies (not rumoured to be a dab hand on the office computer) and some rather disturbing pictures of the adverse effects of tobacco smoke. While Jules’ YouTube postings have only caught the eye of two subscribers so far, he’s clearly caught the online bug as his website features not only video but podcasts, online polls and of course a blog.