NEWS published on 30 Apr 2015

Eurovision News Services: Contacts meeting examines new relationship between broadcasters and audiences

The annual Eurovision News Contacts Meeting has attracted an increasing number of news professionals each year, with 110 delegates from more than 36 countries and 45 organizations attending this year’s event. The gathering took place in Budapest (28-30 April) at the kind invitation of the EBU's Hungarian Member MTVA.

Chair of the Editorial Subcommittee, Gudrun Gutt (ORF), and Head of News and Events, Jeff Dubin (EBU), opened the meeting and welcomed the record number of attendees. In his opening address, MTV Deputy Director General Miklos Vaszily, said that the relationship between broadcasters and audiences must be fundamentally redefined, a point also made by Professor Richard Sambrook, Director of the Centre for Journalism at Cardiff University and a former Director of BBC News, in his keynote address.

Sambrook stressed that in order to deliver great journalism, broadcasters must not limit their thinking to editorial concerns, but must also consider new distribution methods to get stories to the public in engaging and inclusive ways. He added that one of the important tasks for public service media will be to rethink how they can differentiate themselves in this changing news landscape.

Professor Neil Greenberg, President of the UK Psychological Trauma Society, provided participants with an overview of trauma risk management training (TRiM), helping them spot posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in themselves and in colleagues who might have been exposed to traumatic pictures in newsrooms or been deployed to difficult areas.

Participants had a chance to discuss how to best work with the News Exchange in case of breaking news, examining the cases of Charlie Hebdo massacre and the Germanwings disaster, as well as discussing the main challenges in covering Daesh/ IS. In the best practices session, Sven van Bijsterveldt, the winner of the 2014 Gunnar Hoidahl Award, explained the specificities behind sharing coverage of the MH17 plane crash with the rest of the Membership; and Nordic members explained how they cooperate on a regional level.

Delegates also learnt about the renewed Geneva newsroom, the nearly completed Transfer-to-file (TTF) project, Sports News, as well as the future plans for the Special Events unit. Last but not least, participants had a chance to test their social media skills in a hands-on Tweetdeck training and receive an update on the status of the User Generated Content (UGC) Verification Network.