A conference organised by ‘The UK in a Changing Europe’ (ukandeu.ac.uk) on 8 February provided a rare occasion for leading journalists, broadcasters, and academics to exchange experiences and views on how the EU is reported in the UK and the challenges of reporting EU news.
In the third panel of the day, discussion turned to the question: Is the UK media any different? Cristina Marconi, co-author of a study of how media organisations cover the EU, made two important observations: that there used to be a protective attitude from European journalists toward the EU which has now vanished; and that ‘We are still struggling with the idea of a European common interest, but we now have an anti-European common interest’. Comparing coverage of the Spitzenkandidaten in Germany and the UK, Simon Hix, LSE, observed that the process was largely ignored by the UK press, encouraged by the British government who wanted to pretend it wasn’t happening. In Germany by contrast, media coverage led to engagement by the public.