Part 1: 26th - 28th November 2018
Part 2: 18th – 20th February 2019
European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium

Joint CIRCOM Regional/European Parliament workshops Engaging TV Audiences With the European Elections 2019 are designed for journalists, editors, producers, reporters, researchers and presenters working on TV output in EU memeber states who will be involved in the 2019 European Elections coverage, either a specialists in politics or a generalists covering all types of news and current affairs.
Eighteen participants from fourteen countries took part in this two-part course - delegates who attended the November 2018 session (Part 1) also attended the February 2019 session (Part 2).
The course was led by Mia Costello, former BBC Editor, with former Chief News Editor Michael Lally from Ireland as the Editor.

Part One
26th - 28th November 2018

Intensive and very satisfying” was the result of the survey among participants at the end of the first session, 26th - 28th November 2018. The three days covered all the basics of Public Service Broadcasting with emphasis on Impartiality and Independence. This was coupled with Constructive Journalism and its application to political story telling. This approach is now being explored across the media world and CIRCOM is hoping to make this one of its discussion themes at its May conference.


Part Two
18th – 20th February 2019

Workshop participants produced - between first and second part of the workshop - a TV report on a European issue for their own station, one that they’d be prepared to share with the group for analysis.

One by one the reports were viewed and the journalists questioned about their work. What had worked well, but what could be improved?

We watched a report about a new phone app which encourages people to cycle to the shops by recognising that they’ve used their bike and then offering them discounts on their purchases. We saw how in Romania investment in building a new tourist centre to house ancient remains has kick-started the local economy in the area, encouraging locals to start a new taxi service and to offer B&B accommodation for tourists. And in Ireland, we saw the effects on farming of the removal of milk quotas by the EU in 2015 and how in 2019, with a massive expansion in dairy herds, the number of male calves being born has meant farms cannot feed them all and end up having to kill them.

The reports also showed how often public service TV has the opportunity to hold their EU representatives to account but how difficult this is to do in practice. Very few journalists on the course had a productive relationships with their EPLO (European Parliament Liaison Offices) where press officers are stationed to try and promote the work of the EU in each country. It was a message that the EP representative at the parliament took on board. It also highlighted how many stories have a link to the EU but that often that link is not drawn to the attention of the audience.

But analysing each report also showed what a positive impact ‘Constructive’ journalism can have in terms of producing a report that offers a solution to an issue that can be shared with audiences in other countries experiencing the same problem.

As well as the critical analysis of everyone’s TV reports, delegates held ‘Cafe Conversations’ with 5 MEPs about the issues they faced in the run up to May’s elections. Groups were given 15 minutes with each MEP before moving onto the next one. This proved very successful in terms of getting access to MEPs from countries you would not normally meet and talking to them in and relaxed and informal way.

Delegates were also given access to the first forecasts as to who will be the winners and losers in the EP in May during a session with the EP's main data research expert, Phillip Schulmeister.

Several delegates left saying they wanted to meet up again after the election to see how everyone had put the learning from the workshops into practice during their coverage of the elections.

November 2018 session (Part 1) schedule

engaging day1


February 2019 session (Part 2) schedule

engaging day2


The training is provided free of charge. Travel, accommodation and subsistence costs are reimbursed by the European Parliament according to the Parliament's Rules in force.