Numerous tech issues from data flows, privacy, cybersecurity and copyright to autonomous driving, artificial intelligence and robotics are at the forefront of the EU policy stage. While Silicon Valley is notoriously sexist for women in tech, in Brussels we’re lucky to have plenty of savvy female reporters.
Those smarts are needed, because EU tech journalists have the tall order of covering a far-reaching, fast-changing sector and catering to a demanding audience. They face enormous pressure to cut through the complexity, the jargon and the lobbying to tell their stories better and faster than their many rivals.
For those of that work in-house, at a trade association, or in an institutional communication role, we also need to adapt to the ever-changing landscape to make sure our messages are reaching their target audience.
The latest edition of our award-winning #BrusselsCalling media debate series brought together an all-female panel of journalists. We had Frances Robinson on hand to help us quiz Natalia Drozdiak (Wall Street Journal), Julia Fioretti (Reuters), Laura Kayali (Contexte), Joanna Plucinska (POLITICO Europe), and Catherine Stupp (EurActiv) about the ins and outs of following EU decision-making on all things tech.
What was their advice? Check out our ten tips and the highlight video.
- Before pitching, do your research on the outlet and its readers.
- Tailor your pitch to each journalist, e.g. by linking them to other stories they’ve written to show you follow their work.
- Highlight divergence, conflict, and winners and losers.
- Don’t send an embargoed press release too early, as it might miss changes to final drafts of legislation.
- Follow social norms as with any other professional relationship e.g. never ever call journalists at random hours of the night.
- When you’re feeling creative, trying contacting journalists via Signal and WhatsApp.
- Twitter is thetool journalists use the most for monitoring, as this is where stories often break.
- Until EU regulators go after U.S. tech companies, they won’t feature much in policy-driven stories.
- Focus on big-picture stories in 2018, not incremental policy decisions. Topic trends include:
- Closing the Digital Single Market files (or not!)
- Regulating internet platforms
- New rules on hate speech
- For the French, it’s copyright legislation.
- Digital taxation
- Save your GDPR pitches, as journalists have heard enough about its possible business impact for now.