Since we launched the current version of the European Parliament website, circa September 2005, I refer to each year as editorial seasons starting in September and ending in June. Maybe this comes from my frustration of not working in TV production, where you do consider editorial seasons for your grid of programs. Or perhaps it’s a sticky habbit caught in primary school, when the year started in September with new class, new teacher, new girls to tease. It was like keeping your breath for ten endless months until one could breath freely again when summer came.According to this calendar of mine, our sixth editorial season is ending. The summer recess will not see us all disappearing for two months, though. We will work on different editorial projects which started sometime ago, we’ll clean up a bit our future schedule, brainstorm on our next team’s video… In our line of business, there is always something to do and we are not easy to bore (as long as you don’t lock us in an endless meeting).
A strange season
Truth is, this sixth editorial season was strange. I may refer it as our transition year. From September 2010, we knew a lot of our editors were about to leave our team. This was the result of the combination of different factors. First, the internal mobility rules which ask civil servant to move to another job after three years behind the same desk. Second, our colleagues under temporary contract were to meet the six years limit, under which one cannot be employed longer by an institution. The names were known in advance and they concerned mainly “old” editors – old because they belonged to our Unit for quite some time. The migration wave had started in January 2010 and, as a natural result, new team members started to join, although not as the same rate as our beloved ones were leaving.
There had been departures and arrivals before, but not at such a scale. This season was really about replacing half our team, with deep impact on the mood of the oldest one who were to remain with us. Far from me the idea of dramatising the last months, but I do have the feeling most of our team thought an era was ending and the new one somehow wasn’t really starting. We have the justified reputation to be an Unit with a strong team spirit. If the spirit is not good, then the whole team feels akward. And that’s how I resent those last months.
Seven is a magic number, they say. Our next editorial season will begin in September. I foresee new inspiration, new team members, new horizon. The crossroad is behind us.
Another bad influence is to find in the New Internet Strategy for the European Parliament we’ve been working hard on for the last two years and which turned into operational projects at the beginning of our sixth season. From September 2010, the Boss, some editors (but not all) and I have been involved in no less than nine interlinked online projects aiming at proposing new websites, new design, new features. Only one of those mysterious and never-ending projects is already online: the mobile version of the European Parliament website. As always, one cannot forget the European Parliament’s website is not an easy thing to make evolve. There are the 22 languages, the technical constraints, the political aspects. Before this Christmas, however, you should notice some interesting changes. We hope to be ablo to blog about them soon, just to share with you our methodology, our choices, the compromises we had to build and so on.
Social media had it all
The point is: because those projects are extremely time consuming and since their only obvious proof of existence consists in meetings marathon where we disappear for hours, if not days, the core-editorial task were somehow kept at bay. The few remaining energy of mine was mainly devoted to the social media part of our production. Have you noticed our new live chat application? Our MEPs tab which allows you to quickly find your Member on Facebook?
There was less creativity and fun in our Headlines’ schedule and production. The job was done, and in a very professional way IMHO, but perhaps not with the spark of originality and innovation the team is accustomed to. We still can be proud of our EU budget’s infography, of our coverage of the delegation to Tunisia or of our in-depth explanation of the Economic Governance – just to name three of the hundreds stories we published this season.
Seven is a magic number, they say. Our next editorial season will begin in September. I foresee new inspiration, new team members, new horizon. The crossroad is behind us. The seventh editorial season will be a great one, I have no doubt about that. I wish you all a nice and as long as possible break.