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Encouraging Journalism Across the Mediterranean Region

25 October 2007 | PROJECT NEWS


A group of 20 editors and media directors from Mediterranean newspapers and press agencies say they could benefit from more cooperation with their European counterparts as they wrangle with both global and local challenges in the mass-media landscape. 

On 16 October, Europe for Mediterranean Journalists, an 18-month project funded by a consortium of media developers that includes the European Journalism Centre – brought the editors to Amsterdam to evaluate the project while they were there to visit the Second World Digital Publishing Conference and the 10th World Editor and Marketeer conference. 

The aim of the project is to dialogue with independent media outlets across the Mediterranean in the spirit of the European Neighbourhood Policy. The initiative encourages synergy between journalists from the European countries and the MEDA counties (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey and Palestine), and offers a platform for regional co-operation and knowledge sharing. 

The participants of the Europe for Mediterranean Journalists were generally positive about the progress of the results of the project. One particularly memorable part of the project, which included seminars, round table discussions, and training sessions held in Europe and the Middle East, was the chance to team up on the job with Romanian journalists. The journalists said they enjoyed the opportunity to compare methods. 

The group in Amsterdam said they felt that future projects should facilitate similar encounters between journalists from both sides of the Mediterranean. They also asked for future training sessions to be more narrowly tailored – involving, for example, speakers lecturing about economic policies in Europe that affect the local level. In this way, they said information and expertise between the European countries and its direct neighbours can be exchanged. 

The Europe for Mediterranean Journalists consortium will apply for further funding in hopes of providing a platform for such dialogue. When they weren’t reviewing the Europe for Mediterranean Journalists initiative, the media directors from the Mediterranean area were able to meet with Dutch editors and academics to discuss innovations in Dutch journalism and how European news is covered in the Dutch media. They met with editorial writer Paul Brill at De Volkskrant to learn about the newsgathering operations at the Netherlands’ second-largest newspaper. Brill talked about De Volkskrant’s efforts to dialogue with readers while still maintaining its own unique editorial voice. During the day there were several discussions about the development of media in the Netherlands. Newspapers in both the Mediterranean and the Netherlands are trying to reverse the readership decline of its readership by offering new products such as magazines, free papers or Internet services. Editors in both regions talked about changes in the size of the paper from broadsheet to tabloid. 

Europe for Mediterranean Journalists aims to teach journalists from Mediterranean countries how to gather information about European affairs. The program consists of seminars, for instance about the economic relations between the EU and the Mediterranean countries, and of training in new media technologies and methods. 

By Y. Amartib

Europe for Mediterranean Journalists
Through this programme, the EJC proposed trainings for journalists from EU’s Mediterranean neighbours, presenting various aspects of the MEDA cooperation agreement put into place between these countries and the EU. In addition to conferences and workshops, the programme also instituted a regional network of journalists and media outlets, creating lasting ties among the participating journalists.