Sixth EU Framework
Programme - Priority 7

AIM-Working Papers, 2007/3

AIM Research Consortium (ed.): Understanding the Logic of EU Reporting from Brussels. Analysis of interviews with EU correspondents and spokespersons.

This publication presents a first factual accounting of structures and processes of the work at the news site in Brussels. It complements an earlier investigation on EU news management at editorial offices in European countries. The main goal of this part of the project is to better understand how a EU news topic is selected. The focus of this analysis is, principally, directed at the overall news management processes and its routines. The influence of European institutions on the selection and processing of information that turns into news is also of particular interest.

During a field study in spring 2006, researchers interviewed a total of 142 correspondents in Brussels, 14 (out of 24) spokespersons of the European Commission, spokespersons from eight of the representations of the Commission in the individual member states, and spokespersons/diplomats from nine of the permanent representations of the member states in Brussels.

As the main goal was to map the correspondents' and the spokespersons' personal views on EU news management processes and the information of the European institutions, and also their experience with EU coverage, qualitative interviews were selected as the most appropriate method. The insights gained through the interviews with these 'European people' are presented in this volume, which is divided into two parts.

Different expectations

The first section, made up of 11 country reports (Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Romania, Spain, and the United Kingdom), provides profiles of the national correspondents corps and shows how journalists interact with EU actors and fellow journalists. It discloses problems concerning the different expectations between newsrooms at home and the correspondents, which might eventually lead to a limited amount of, or less variety in, coverage.

The national reports also look at the interplay between correspondents and their sources, as the inclusion of a specific piece of information into the news depends to a large degree on the sources available to the journalists in Brussels. Furthermore, the interview reports shed light on the correspondents' (national) views of a European identity and (a) European public sphere(s).

The second part of this publication focuses on the work of spokespersons. It gives an account of the spokespersons' role in the EU news management processes and shows how they organise and evaluate working with journalists.

The working paper can be ordered in all bookshops or directly at the projekt verlag.