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End of an editorial season (again)

The last time I wrote a similar post was in July 2011. Somehow, I missed the momentum last year, and yet here it comes again: the end of our eighth editorial season.

Because we launched the first new version of the European Parliament website in September 2005, my mental calendar is the similar of a grad-school student's. From September to the next summer makes a season – just like your regular TV Show. So, what happened in the last eleven months or so and what can we expect in the next editorial season? #spoilers ahead

Best way to overcome a trauma - believe me.

Best way to overcome a trauma – believe me.

The season started with a trauma: our beloved Boss, Steve, was called to higher functions and became an Über-Boss aka a Director. Our Unit lost one of its Founding Father – as well as Evita and Martina, who used to sit at the heart of the corridor's newsroom of our floor and followed him in his new destiny.

Goodbye With A Smile from Web Com on Vimeo.

The team was left with your serviteur being the new man in charge (official title being "Acting Head of Unit" although I prefer "Starring"). Debate is not close wether it's even worse than expected at the time.

Other people left, many more joined – I will not list all of them (am I not already famous enough not to remember people's names and faces?). Point is: fresh blood runs in the team and our Unit has currently one of its best configuration.

What did we do?

Web Comm is articulated around three pillars of activities.

1°- We are a Newsdesk 

We publish two to three stories a day in 23 languages. In our editorial mix (interviews, stories, focuses etc.), infographics and slideshows have become more proeminent in the course of this season.
Our editorial team (lead by Kostas), who's in charge of proposing subjects and then of writing the synopses all editors write their pieces from, has turned sharper in its writing. We produce shorter, more accurate content. Among the hundreds of stories we published this season, those are some of our favorite:

Our feature on data protection – including the Prism issue

The search for God's particle – aka Higgs' boson

The full dossier on women and economical crisis

The transcription of MEP Duff's chat on facebook about next European Elections

I have a personal soft touch for our "EP Leaders in four objects" series. It's not so often that you can spend three minutes in close intimacy with international political leaders.

During this season, we also opened a Tumblr in Croatian to add a 23rd language in our editorial-mix. And on July 1st, the whole Europarl online galaxy extended in Croatian. Not an easy task, believe us.

Something we hope our audiences haven't noticed: we are better in coordinating media plans, media priorities within our Directorates. That means we have a better editorial consistency between editorial Units but also amongst our various online platforms. That's because Barbara is in charge of the whole editorial coordination jazz, if you ask me. 

2°- We are a multimedia agency

WebComm decided few years ago to improve and renew the About Parliament section  of the main website. This section hosts "stock" content aimed at explaining powers, procedures, organisation of our institution. This ain't an easy job.
The production rythm is slower than our Newsdesk's worflows. Thanks to Petra and Nadina's constant co-ordination and to the Web Studio from our sister Unit, we managed to ship the nice following multimedia apps.

The Budget procedure explained

How the European Parliament is active in the field of Human Rights

The Ordinary Legislative Procedure explained

Some very cool 360° views (a project run by Dan Lou Ford Coppola who managed to keep his sanity when everyone else would have gone mad):

  • The hemicyle full with your MEPs

We are currently working on new Multimedia projects while, in a discreet way, simplifying navigation and content of this About Parliament section.

3°- We animate social-media platforms

I won't brag here about our 875,954 fans (at the time of writing).  In 2013, it's not so much about how big it is but rather about how good you are in using it. In the last months, our team became extremely good in connecting our various social-media platforms together, using their own specificity (say, Playlists on Spotify) to animate all of them.

Ou new kid on the block.

Ou new kid on the block.

There is a strong editorial logic in our social-media madness (thnaks to Karolina, our social-media coordinator) and we are proud to see Twitter and facebook climbing up as sources of traffic to our main website. Our first Vine video was released in May. (Here are number two and number three).

We also produced specific video for our social-media audience, such as Get Erasmussed Today ! 

Our LinkedIn discussion group fosters very interesting exchanges and Google + starts to gather a significant community. If you haven't unlocked our special foursquare badge nor join in one of our regular mini-photo contests on Instagram, you still have time…

What's coming next?

This blog gathers a faithful audience and we are proud to be engaged with you, Dear Readers. Your feedback matters, your opinions are read and your critics are important to us.

As every culture, our team has its totems and taboos. One of the latter is we never speak of projects or developments until there are online. Call it superstition, lack of self-assurance or just a polite habbit. 

I won't challenge the taboo too much. Only to hint at a new News Strategy we've been working on for two years, now, and which is currently technically implemented by the IT guys. As of 2nd September, the News section of Europarl will appear less cluttered, with new editorial products and extremely interesting widgets and visuals. We really hope you'll like it.

This blog gathers a faithful audience and we are proud to be engaged with you, Dear Readers. Your feedback matters, your opinions are read and your critics are important to us.

We wish you a very happy Summertime. 

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