For the next three months, I will be blogging for the European blogging competition thinkaboutit.eu, which is organized by the European Journalism Centre (EJC) in Maastricht. The competition brings together 91 bloggers from the European Union, Brazil, India, China, the US, Kazhakstan and South Africa and will discuss topics relating to the Climate Change conference in Copenhagen in the middle of December. Heads of government will meet in Copenhagen in December to work on a agreement which replaces the Kyoto agreement and aims at reducing carbon emissions and counter global warming.
From January to June 2009, there has already been another blogging competition on thinkaboutit.eu on the topic of the European parliamentary elections in June. The blogging competition is held in English and tries to pool national discussions on the European elections or climate change. Bloggers with a background in journalism or politics will share their views and portray the discussions in their countries, so that a veritable European debate can take place.
Until now, it has been difficult to create a common European debate on pan-European topics. National media often report about European topics when they hit the nation-state, and pan-European media like Euractiv.com and EUObserver.com are limited to an English-speaking elite. Thinkaboutit.eu therefore uses young people as multipliers in order to break down European topics onto the nation-state level and to bring the national discussions onto the European level.
The first competition has had a remarkable quality of posts, says Anne Autio from the European Journalism Centre. In the second competition, journalistic competence will be put together with scientific knowledge in order to inform, educate and entertain a European audience. To enhance the blog posts, all bloggers received a High Definition Flip Video Camera and are supposed to use them to give insights into public opinion in their home countries.