There are plenty of PR types who will be using this fairly seismic shift as an excuse to our bosses or clients when our story doesn’t get covered. But the press corps could double, and a press release that merely ”welcomes” a Brussels announcement on an issue that is irrelevant to most, while at the same time “applauds” the “Commission” (cos there is only one “Commission” in the world, right?) will NEVER get picked up. A few years back, there was an infamous Brussels website that named and shamed such press releases.
The monster that the Europe correspondent has to grapple with has always been multi-headed. Having to file stories on data privacy, anti-trust, food labelling and customs in quick succession is no joke. We PR types need to be of much more use to journalists – bringing them easy access to real world experts and those with influential opinions on issues that matter to – or even entertain – their readers and their editors.
With fewer journalist around (yes, there are still 700 but you get what I’m saying), we should take more time to get to know them. And not (alone) by taking them for mad nights out, but by actually reading what they write, knowing their pet subjects, knowing their style and that of their editor.
Charlemagne makes the excellent point that journalists should move from Brussels out to the trenches every few years. So should all of us.