This is the Project Context and Executive Summary, accompanying a longer report on EurActiv’s values: Transparency, Efficiency, Media Independence and Languages.
See the full report here.
PROJECT CONTEXT: reviewing the values of an innovative European media
This project seeks to explore online media focused on the European Union, to review the past decade and a half of their work and to look forward towards their prospects. Using EurActiv as a case-study it also welcomes constructive comments and feedback from external sources.
Two main challenges have been identified:
- Defining the field: there are many sectoral publications; there are fewer generic publications and then there are some international or global media that also cover the EU ‘en passant’, e.g. The Economist, The Financial Times and the International New York Times.
- There is no common agreement on what are the evolutionary paths of emerging innovations. The implications of any evolutions on the ‘best’ or right business models are also unclear, creating uncertainty for traditional and even ‘modern’ media as they seek to respond to competitive and market challenges.
Project Approach: reviewing the last decade and a half of EU-specialised media
From these two challenges three issues arise:
- Taking EurActiv as a core example does not imply that there is nothing to learn from comparing with others how it has survived and thrived. EurActiv possesses a large archive of published articles, interviews, opinions, videos and blogposts. By inviting contributions from a wide cross-section of EU influencers the project also makes references to past and present competitors as well as from selected global and national equivalents.
- Which are the main routes through which EurActiv has proved sustainable while others have proved less so? Are there innovations which EurActiv developed that others could have tried? Or, was EurActiv, a digital media from day one, able to avoid some of the challenges of switching from print or ‘riding-two-horses’ at the same time?
- What are the main implications of the innovative changes that have emerged since 2000 for clients, the EU institutions and the range of both online and traditional media that try to serve both audiences?
At the core of this project is a classification of four values and some disruptive innovations that seem likely to influence and challenge current and future online media over the next decade or more.
This project does not plan to produce forecasts. However, constructive feedback and any suggestions as to the future of political and policy journalism across Europe are welcome. We welcome comments from those who have followed this journey so far, on the report in general, or about any of the individual contributions which follow.
We would like to extend a most sincere thank you to our contributors without whom this project would not exist. I also thank my colleagues Diogo Pinto and Freddie Martyn for their support. As is customary to state, any errors, omissions or misinterpretations are my sole responsibility as Editor.
Since its inception, EurActiv has championed four values – media independence, transparency, efficiency and languages. At the beginning, these four values summarized the challenges faced by one media aiming at catering for the needs of the “EU community of actors” and, in many ways, they still do the same today.
Looking back, one could say that two of these values – media independence and transparency – have generally been achieved, while the two other remain as aspirational: efficiency and languages are still today challenges that our readers recognize and expect us to overcome.
As the many testimonials collected and the results of our most recent readership survey show, EurActiv is largely recognized as an independent media and a pioneer of transparency in the EU policy-making scene; what these data show too, however, is that much remains to be done in bringing efficiency to the process.
In what concerns languages, too, and in spite of EurActiv being recognized as a unique player, the wish of the majority to read EU policy news in their own language, and having access to a “Brussels perspective” next to the national ones, is still an area in which the room for improvement is great.
In the same way that EurActiv innovated at the beginning by going “online only”, it kept innovating in many other aspects covered by this report. Today, more than ever before, EurActiv is determined to keep innovating, not for the sake of it, but to make sure it keeps faithful to its values and the aspirations of its users.
Through the increasing network of partnerships with national quality media, on the top of its own network of franchised partners, EurActiv is increasing the speed and the volume of translation and content sharing in all directions. Through truly innovative tools such as EurActory and the still unique LinksDossiers, it is bringing ever more efficiency to the policy process tracking and visualization.
At EurActiv, we are proud of our past, and looking forward to our future. And it makes us happy to see that our users, sponsors, partners and friends, share those feelings with us.
Read full report here.
Author : EurActiv: Pioneering Values in European Media