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  • Writer's pictureBerlaymonster

Hacks longing for brief briefings

The group representing the Brussels international press corps has finally woken up to what hacks have long known – the European Commission is BORING.

Representatives from the Association de la Press Internationale (API) met with the commission’s head spokesman last week to complain that the daily midday briefings were unecessarily drawn-out and vapid.

“Journalists note that often statements made in the press room have no informative added value over and above the written material already distributed or made available,” API said in a statement of its own this week, adding that the briefings were “too long.”

Having been a fixture in the daily press briefing for years, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung correspondent and API rep. Michael Stabenow should know better: spokesmen have come and gone, and from time to time the story itself was more interesting than at present.

But pointless blather from the stage, and eye-rolling clock-watching from the hacks, has been a feature of the midday briefing since time began.

It’s the cheap pressbar coffee and valuable pressbar chat after the briefing those in the know in the presspack really turn up for.

But the API complaint raises a valid, if belated, point. There has, it’s true, been a renewed tendency of late for every spokesman with a tiresome jargon-ridden vacuous initiative to announce, insisting on coming on stage during the briefing to ‘draw your attention to a press release outside’ on it. And then proceed to digest the contents of said press release, or worse still, read it out for the gathered journos.

There are many things of which journalists can be accused – often justifiably – but illiteracy is not one of them.

(A small group of veteran British hacks (two) may, however, have found the solution: during the briefing itself they can be found indulging in idle banter and subsidised booze in the pressbar, occasionally (and only occasionally) turning their attention when pertinent to the live relay broadcast on a laptop hooked up to the commission’s wi-fi…)

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