A P R E S E N TAT I O N O F THE EP PRESS SERVICE

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1 A P R E S E N TAT I O N O F THE EP PRESS SERVICE

2 Press Service Contents 4 Foreword by Ms Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou 6 What is the EP Press Service? 10 Catalogue of products and services 11 Agenda 12 Audiovisual archives - Media Library 13 Audiovisual Website 14 Background Notes 15 EP live: the multimedia centre of the Website 16 Europarltv 17 Headlines of the EP website 18 Hotline-Newsdesk 19 Live coverage for media professionals 20 National angles 21 Newsletters on Plenary Sessions 22 Photo service and archives 23 Press breakfasts 24 Pre-session press briefings 25 Press Conferences 26 Press releases 27 Press room facilities 28 Thematic Press Seminars in Brussels 29 Radio Services 30 Seminars and workshops for journalists in the Member States 31 Parliament on Social media platforms 32 Sound and Video recording 33 Technical briefings 34 TV Studios 35 Video on Demand (VOD) / Web Streaming 36 Visits of Groups of Journalists to Brussels and Strasbourg 37 VoxBox multimedia studio 38 Website 39 Weekly briefing : A single number for journalists 41 Statistics of the year Getting in touch with us March Produced by the Directorate for the Media, DG Communication, European Parliament All photos by Pietro Naj-Oleari, except from: front page, p.6, p.25, p.34, and by EP Photo Service. 3

3 Foreword Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou EP Vice-President for Communication The information revolution and new technologies have dramatically increased the accessibility of information and have opened up the world of interactive media. Digital technologies offer new channels for communication on European issues, new forums for civic debate, new tools for cross-border democracy and new opportunities for MEPs. The European Parliament s communication and information policy is closely following these new challenges by increasing and by improving its facilities in order to respond efficiently to all the new requirements, through Web-channels, blogs, websites, pictures, and other user-generated media. Information sources proliferate at incredible speed. Multiple-channel communication strategies should now be used to reach out to the fragmented audience and social media networks such as Facebook or Twitter. 4 EP PRESS SERVICE ( 0 ) In order to stay plugged-in, the European Parliament takes these developments into account when forging its communication policy and relations with the media and the citizens. A step in that direction was taken during the 2009 European elections. New communications tools such as Web-TV, Facebook or Twitter take a growing role in our efforts to go local and reach European citizens. The EP Press Service provides written, oral, audiovisual and web communication on the activities of Parliament and its official bodies to a wide range of media using an equally wide range of tools following one basic principle: objective, factual and trustworthy information in all official EU languages. Furthermore the EP Press Service offers us a solid platform of modern communication services, on the basis of which we, the policy makers, can elaborate and communicate our political analysis and message. This brochure is structured in a way to present press products and also tools and facilities that are currently available to the Members of the European Parliament in order to enrich their communication activities. How to embed an europarltv video in your own homepage, how to record a video-blog, what is needed to organise a press conference, whom to contact to order a photographer or what kind of written content is available for copy right free reuse these and other questions find answers in the brochure. I hope that the brochure will become a valuable guide for your communication activities and wish you pleasant reading. 5

4 A special effort in the audiovisual field In all the EP Press service s activities, quality is the watchword. Parliament s media and communication services have an enviable reputation for objective reporting of accurate facts, trustworthiness and high-quality content. These are their greatest assets and ones which must and will be maintained. ` Our activities in a nutshell In compliance with its mandate, the press service of the European Parliament works on a day-to-day basis to ensure the largest possible press coverage of the European Parliament and its decisions. To that end, we provide written, oral and audiovisual information to a wide range of media through an equally wide range of tools. As the only directly elected institution of the European Union, it is also our duty to ensure that every citizen has easy access to information on the European Parliament. The EP press service is responsible for implementing web communication strategies aimed at the general public using tools such as the EP web site, Parliament s web television channel and social networking platforms. As to the detail of the press service activities, votes and debates at Parliament s plenary sessions are reported in all the official EU languages, distributed via the website, by and by press officers in Parliament s information offices to national, regional and local media in the Member States. Votes in the parliamentary committees are also covered in several languages, depending on the national media interest on a particular subject. The EP Press service provides oral information as well, through personal contacts and in Parliament s press rooms, but also by regularly organising press conferences, briefings, seminars and other media events aimed at the Brussels press corps or journalists from the Member States. In 2009 alone, 4678 journalists participated in 216 media seminars and events organised by the EP press officers in Brussels, Strasbourg and in the Member States. All these efforts have contributed to a considerable increase of Parliament s presence in the media in comparison to previous years. All Parliament s plenary sessions, almost all committee meetings and a selection of special events are webcast on Parliament s website and web TV channel and also transmitted live by satellite. Other events may be recorded and summarised for TV transmission or webcast on demand. 6 E P P R E S S S E RV I C E ( 0 )

5 Also online! A high level of innovation in Parliament s communication online was achieved when conducting an effective campaign on the 2009 European elections - a first of its kind for a parliament in Europe. The most important initiatives were the establishment of a new and durable social media presence, via platforms such as Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr and Twitter, the development of innovative one-off web applications and a series of viral videos promoting electoral participation. The EP Facebook page had 60,500 fans in January 2010, a figure which grows steadily. The platform is now used among other things as a forum for direct interaction between Members and web users in Facebook chats. Communication activities on social media networks come, of course, in addition to running and developing the EP website. The EP Press service team was responsible, in cooperation with other EP services, for the development of special websites such as for the 2009 European elections and on the hearings of the commissioners-designate, which went online on 30 November The audiovisual service recently launched a wide range of technical facilities for radio and television, including six radio, two multimedia studios and a brand new TV studio, all located in the JAN building in Brussels. An equal level of services is proposed in Strasbourg. The VoxBox, a fully equipped and open radio and television studio on the third floor of the ASP building, has become especially popular with Members. They can easily book the VoxBox to record a video blog or a debate with fellow politicians or journalists. In comparison with previous year, TV and radio productions from the European Parliament doubled in 2009, largely thanks to the media interest that was triggered by the European elections. The EP Press service offers both copyright-free audiovisual material (images, sound and photos) and technical assistance, such as TV crews or editing suites, to journalists reporting on and from Parliament. Parliament s web TV channel - europarltv - has entered its second operational year with programmes aimed at the general public. Being the only web TV in the world to run in 22 languages, europarltv s first priority was to ensure the good technical functioning of the platform. Now the focus is on distributing its content. Several national and regional television channels have already broadcast europarltv programmes, which are offered to them copyright-free. These can be easily embedded in members websites, blogs and other online communication platforms and are often used to enrich EP press products. Drawing from the first experiences and feedback from users, the interface of europarltv will be renewed and upgraded in May In a fast evolving media and communication landscape, the EP-Press service faces a number of great challenges, but the aim is always the same - to assure the best possible visibility for Parliament s debates and decisions on the issues that really matter to people and to make sure that anyone can easily access information on the Parliament. 8 E P P R E S S S E RV I C E ( 0 )

6 The Agenda Each Friday the Press Service publishes a guide to the institutional events of media interest in the next seven days. This includes a highlights page, the full plenary agenda, a list of all the committee meetings including their main business, a timetable of press conferences and information on the EP President s activities. High media-profile delegation visits and other official events are also included. The Agenda is published on the website with an alert to the Brussels press corps. Catalogue of products and services 1 0 E P P R E S S S E RV I C E ( 0 )

7 Audiovisual archives Audiovisual website The European Parliament multimedia archives contain an extensive collection of historical and topical photos, audio and video material, and over 18,000 hours of video footage - the majority of which has been digitalised - dating back to historical images from the 1950s, and recordings of all plenary sessions since MEPs can request relevant footage from the archives for television reports, news magazine programmes and documentaries. Footage and sound clips are offered free of charge, and free of rights, for non-commercial use only. In the first half of 2010 the Audiovisual Unit of the European Parliament will launch a new website specifically dedicated to audiovisual media professionals.the website will enable easy access to online broadcasts, as well as promotion of the Audiovisual Unit s productions and services, and will be equipped with a high performance search engine allowing users to locate video, audio and photo material related to EP activities. MEPs will be able to use the material available on the audiovisual website for their own productions, copyright free. They can also redirect journalists and media professionals to this site, should they be looking for audiovisual material on the Parliament. 1 2 E P P R E S S S E RV I C E ( 0 )

8 Background Notes EP live: the multimedia centre of the website EP Live is the video, audio and multimedia centre of the EP website. This service offers scheduled, live and recorded audiovisual coverage of the Parliament s events and activities in all official EU languages. It also offers informative audio and video programmes on a variety of EU topics. Euroinfo, a weekly programme edited and produced by Euronews, on various political subjects such as climate change and air passengers rights, available in 6 languages (English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese). When a legislative or institutional issue needs more explanation than can be included in an ordinary press release, either because of its complexity or because journalists need a guide to the history of a particular proposal, the Press Service publishes a detailed Background Note a multi-section dossier which covers all the points in detail. Background Notes are published on the website with an alert to the Brussels press corps. An overview of our multimedia products: In live streaming: Plenary sessions, committee s meetings, press conferences, public hearings and special events. In recorded format: past plenary sessions in info-rich format, past committee meetings, press conferences and public hearings of particular interest to targeted publics and journalists, other special events. From the main page of EP live, MEPs can watch the scheduled live events and news videos, audio clips or other multimedia products, or watch it recorded later online, by going to the multimedia library section. Any recorded event can be easily embedded in a member s website and extracts can be downloaded in the available EU languages, for ing to contacts and journalists. 1 4 E P P R E S S S E RV I C E ( 0 )

9 The Headlines of the EP website Parliament s Web television service informs citizens about events in their institution through news, interviews, debates, magazines, in-depth analysis and reports. There are four channels with content subtitled in 22 languages: parliamentnews for the latest news and debates; yourvoice, an intermediary between citizens and MEPs; youngeurope, a channel dedicated to young viewers and schools; parliamentlive to follow European Parliament activities and plenary sessions live. In May 2010, a new and upgraded interface of Europarltv will be launched. Europarltv has reached an agreement with RTBF transmit a number of Europarltv programmes. Euronews, ARD and RTV, a Slovenian national broadcaster, were among television channels that used Europarltv programmes last year. The Headlines page of Parliament s website provides daily updates on the activities of the Institution for the general reader. The material aims to be concise, attractive, varied and accessible for the non-specialist visitor, with an emphasis on the human dimension of EP politics: the real impact of MEPs work on people s everyday lives, interviews with Members, straightforward explanations of EP business, and much more. Links are provided to all relevant further information available on the website. All Headlines material is provided in 22 languages. All material - articles, photos, video - is free for re-use, and can easily be shared via MEPs own websites and blogs using RSS feeds. Conversely, the web team relies on the members, contacting them to explain their work and putting them in touch, through the site, with over 1.5 million visitors per month. Europarltv is also present on platforms as Dailymotion, YouTube and in social networking sites as Facebook and Twitter. MEPs can freely and easily include videos from europarltv on their websites, blogs and social networking sites profiles using the embed code under the Share button. 1 6 E P P R E S S S E RV I C E ( 0 )

10 Hotline-Newsdesk Live coverage for media professionals The Hotline-Newsdesk provides assistance to TV and radio journalists in finding relevant information on EP activities and MEPs. Its multilingual team provides audiovisual media with regular briefings or detailed information on upcoming events - such as meetings of parliamentary committees and delegations, press conferences, extraordinary meetings and visits by Heads of State and Government - as well as profiles of individual MEPs, their fields of expertise and languages spoken, so as to facilitate interviews. Live coverage of events in the European Parliament is transmitted via Europe by Satellite (EbS/EbS+), the television news service of the EU Institutions. EbS/EbS+ provides the audiovisual media with a multimedia digital signal, non-coded and easy to downlink. EbS-EP provides broadcasters with the following news services: Live major EP events, plenary sessions, press conferences, public hearings, etc. News daily highlights of EP news Stockshots video dossiers focussed on a topical subject. Infoclips short compilations of shots relating to a topical subject. Material on EbS/EbS+ is offered free of charge and free of rights for non-commercial use. However EP material must be credited as such. MEPs can consult the EbS/EbS+ schedule on the EP website s EP live/media professionals pages. 1 8 E P P R E S S S E RV I C E ( 0 )

11 National angles Newsletters on plenary sessions The idea behind the national angle section in the Press Service website is to inform readers in each country about EP activities that are of particular interest in their specific Member State. National angle articles by EP Press officers are often focused on events organised by the Information Offices with the participation of MEPs. MEPs can reuse these articles by, for example, publishing them in their newsletters or on their web sites. Ahead of each plenary, the Press Service produces a guide for journalists to what is coming up on the session agenda. Short articles give the essentials of what is at stake with each of the major events, giving journalists the information they need to pitch stories to their editors. The Newsletter includes a wealth of links to more detailed sources of information, and is published in 22 languages, tailored to include points likely to arouse media interest in different Member States. 2 0 E P P R E S S S E RV I C E ( 0 )

12 Photo service and archives Press breakfasts The photo service of the European Parliament has a twofold mission: to cover news events in the EP and to provide official pictures of MEPs. Its archives contain both historical and topical images, as well as all official photos in the history of the EP. For major legislation, breakfast meetings between rapporteurs and selected journalists with a special interest in the issue allow for more extended discussion of complex, high-profile issues in an informal setting. MEPs can call on EP photographers for their official portraits or to cover events in which they are taking part on the EP premises. MEPs can consult and select photos on: Pictures will also soon be available through the new EP audiovisual website. 2 2 E P P R E S S S E RV I C E ( 0 )

13 Pre-session press briefings Press conferences Brussels: Anna Politkovskaya Room (PHS 0A50) Strasbourg: LOW N-1 / 201 On the Friday morning before each Strasbourg plenary session, a press briefing takes place in Brussels including the spokespeople from all the political groups who wish to take part. Parliament s spokesperson summarises the main events to come and the group speakers set out their priorities. A last-minute briefing with the EP spokesperson takes place immediately before the session in Strasbourg. These briefings are webstreamed on the EP and europarltv web sites and shown live on Europe by Satellite. In 2009, there were 22 pre-session press briefings in Brussels and in Strasbourg. MEPs press conferences are held in the press briefing rooms in Strasbourg and Brussels. During the sessions in Strasbourg and Brussels, priority is given to items on the agenda. For institutional press conferences, such as with rapporteurs, MEPs are assisted by a press officer from the EP Press Service. In 2009, there were 432 press conferences organised in Brussels and Strasbourg. In addition, EP press officers in the member states often organise press conferences and other media events on the ground. MEPs are invited to discuss new legislative work with the media, especially when they have an institutional role to play (rapporteur, chair of delegation, chair of parliamentary committee). MEPs can book the press conference room for their press conferences, which are scheduled to last 30 minutes. Rapporteurs and members with an institutional role are entitled to interpretation on request. The press conferences are announced in the Agenda and on the EP website as well as on the screens in the press room. Some press conferences are webstreamed and/or transmitted via Europe By Satellite. The full set of rules for press conferences is distributed with each booking. 2 4 E P P R E S S S E RV I C E ( 0 )

14 Press releases Press room facilities The Parliament Press Service publishes press releases on important votes and key debates, in both plenary sessions and parliamentary committees, and on other major events, in up to 22 languages. The press releases are published immediately on the website and sent to EU correspondents, journalists in the member states and specialised media. In both Brussels and Strasbourg, Parliament offers journalists free use of fully equipped press work rooms. Free WIFI internet access is available, and each workstation includes a telephone (chargeable for international calls) and a screen allowing reporters to follow the plenary session, committee meeting or other major events. Journalists can also choose to watch one of dozens of TV channels available on the same screen. In Brussels, there is a desktop computer built into each workstation with slots for photo memory cards and a DVD drive. A helpdesk with Press Service staff and a technical support team from the communication contractors are available. The press centres also have racks containing press releases from the EP Press Service and the political groups, and session documents. These facilities are available to any bona-fide journalist, whether permanently accredited to the EU institutions or visiting, for example, at the invitation of an MEP. 2 6 E P P R E S S S E RV I C E ( 0 )

15 Press seminars Radio services The press seminars aim to explain the role of Parliament to representatives of the media from the Member States by focussing on specific major pieces of legislation. The topics of these seminars are closely linked to Parliament s agenda. Journalists from around Europe are invited their interest or specialisation in the particular topic concerned. The day before the Lisbon Treaty entered into force, a seminar on the new powers of the European Parliament was organised in Brussels with the participation of more than 100 journalists. In 2010, thematic seminars are planned on major legislation such as the financial crisis and economic recovery, climate change and energy issues or EU law linked to health issues. The Press service invites MEPs with an leading role on a subject, such as rapporteur and shadow rapporteurs to explain and to present to participants their views on the issue in question. The radio services of the European Parliament feature a wide range of facilities including: 6 multimedia radio studios equipped with sound and recording facilities, as well as facilities for live broadcasting round-table discussions; a studio next to the Chamber both in Strasbourg and in Brussels, with various recording formats available; PC editing with the assistance of a technician. The resulting feeds can be sent by ISDN or ed in various formats. Audio recordings of EP activities are also available through the multimedia archives of the European Parliament (EP plenary debates, committee meetings, press conferences, etc. recorded in digital format in the original language and in English with extracts available in any format). MEPs can obtain assistance with their radio interviews and request recordings available in the archives via this service. 2 8 E P P R E S S S E RV I C E ( 0 )

16 Seminars and workshops for journalists in the Member States Parliament on social media platforms Parliament has a strong and active social media presence across a variety of platforms, most importantly Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr and Twitter. These media allow the Institution to communicate and interact with a new audience, promote online publications and events, share photo and video material, post web-applications, etc. Press officers in Parliament s information offices regularly organise seminars and workshops for journalists, taking place both in the capital cities and the regions of the Member States. The topics dealt with are closely linked to the interests of the region in question and the EP legislative agenda. In the second half of 2009, 1056 journalists took part in 39 seminars organised by the EP press officers in European towns and cities. Crucially, social media also provide increasing scope for direct interaction between members of the public and MEPs, for example through the popular Facebook chat format. Members with a social media presence can participate in and use the networks established at an institutional level, both as a source of online material and in order to participate in direct interaction, notably on Parliament s Facebook page. MEPs representing the region or involved in the legislation in question are invited to present their point of view to the media representatives. twitter.com/europarl_en 3 0 E P P R E S S S E RV I C E ( 0 )

17 Sound and video recording Technical briefings The European Parliament offers support to visiting TV and radio media organisations in their coverage of parliamentary activities. Facilities available include ENG crews, editing stations with state-of-the-art technical equipment, TV and Radio studios, as well as live positions next to the Chambers for statements and interviews. On-site multi-camera sets are also available during plenary sessions or special events. Facilities in detail: - ENG crews - several editing rooms - a digital archive system for audiovisual media - a new television studio equipped with high definition camera facilities, and TV studio sets to cater for 10 participants, with an audience of up to 50 people and 3 interpreting booths - 6 multimedia radio studios, equipped with sound and recording facilities, as well as facilities for live broadcasting from Round Table meetings. win 2010 the Audiovisual Unit of the European Parliament will also launch a new website specifically targeted at audiovisual media professionals enabling access to online broadcasts, along with promotion of its productions and services. For complex legislative dossiers, the Press Service arranges technical briefings with experts from, for example, committee secretariats. These off-the-record events give journalists a chance to ask the detailed questions about the technical aspects of a piece of legislation, so they can understand fully what is at stake. Political questions are not covered here but in other settings for example a press conference with the rapporteur, or a seminar. Visit MEPs can contact the audiovisual booking service to obtain more details about facilities. Please note that, according to a decision by Parliament s Bureau, these services are available only to accredited audiovisual media, and not directly to MEPs themselves. 3 2 E P P R E S S S E RV I C E ( 0 )

18 TV studios and live facilities Video on demand (VOD) / Webstreaming Parliament s plenary sessions, committee meetings and other major events are streamed live on the EP website. They are also available as video-on-demand in all EU languages. Regarding the plenary session, members can extract and download a single speech from the Chamber or the whole debate. The EP has two TV Studios, one in Strasbourg and a brand new, larger one in Brussels. The Brussels TV studio is equipped with high definition camera facilities, virtual background and TV studio sets to cater for 10 participants, with an audience of up to 50 people and 3 interpreting booths. The European Parliament is the first international organisation to provide a multilingual simultaneous transmission of more than 12 parliamentary committees. This service is available through the EP website in two video formats WMV (Windows Media Video) and MPEG-4. In Strasbourg and Brussels journalists can use the EP live facilities for interviews and standups. During the plenary sessions these facilities are placed next to the chamber. Many TV stations already use this TV studio for their occasional or regular programmes and MEPs can offer TV stations and journalists the possibility to record their programmes - on EP-related activities in these state-of-the-art premises. MEPs can also give live interviews to TV stations in the Member States via these facilities. MEPs can watch the live broadcast or recorded meetings in WMV format, from their offices or from their personal computers equipped with Windows Media Player and a browser with the necessary plug-in. Any recorded event can be easily embedded in a website and extracts can be downloaded in the available EU languages, for ing to contacts or journalists. 3 4 E P P R E S S S E RV I C E ( 0 )

19 Visits of groups of journalists to Brussels and Strasbourg VoxBox multimedia studio Press officers based in the Member States and in Brussels also arrange visits for national, local or regional journalists to the Parliament. The aim is to give journalists the opportunity to be informed about Parliament and see how it works in practice. They also learn about the press products, services and facilities available to them, including the audiovisual facilities. In the second half of 2009, 30 groups comprising 634 journalists in total visited the European Parliament in Brussels. Such visits include always an exchange of views between the journalists and MEPs of their respective countries The VoxBox multimedia studio is a facility located in the heart of the EP in Brussels, on the third floor of the ASP building. It is specifically designed to assist radio and Web journalists with live or recorded audio and video round-table discussions for web streaming. MEPs can use the VoxBox services for on the spot multimedia interviews, and to make recordings for use on their websites. 3 6 E P P R E S S S E RV I C E ( 0 )

20 The EP website Weekly briefing The website of the European Parliament is an unparalleled multilingual source of news and information about the institution. It provides an extensive multimedia, multilingual news service, catering for both the general public and media professionals; gives in-depth information about the Parliament, its role and organisation; publishes profiles and contact information for all MEPs; links to all current plenary and committee business, and all relevant documentation; and offers a multimedia resource, with live and recorded webstreaming of plenary and committees. From time to time, the website incorporates extra sections on special events. On Monday of each committee week or Brussels session week, the EP Press Service holds a morning press briefing, setting out the major events for the week ahead, with EP press officers on hand to respond to questions from journalists. 13 weekly briefings were organised in 2009, slightly less than usual due to the European elections. MEPs will find a wealth of material on the site available for re-use on personal sites and blogs, notably via RSS feeds. The video-on-demand service in particular allows Members to download tailor-made video extracts of plenary proceedings. 3 8 E P P R E S S S E RV I C E ( 0 )

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