September 1, 2019 | My last report
Although my time as the fifth fellow of the Lénaïc Fund for Quality Journalism has come to an end, I won’t be leaving Brussels as I have signed a contract with MLex starting from September. This means that I will continue covering EU energy and climate policies, as I have been doing for most of my fellowship. And I am very much looking forward to working as a full-time reporter in the bubble!
With a new European Commission taking office in the autumn, it will be an exciting time for policy reporters to be in Brussels. New legislative proposals will come up and will be negotiated for years, generating a wide range of news and interesting debates. In addition, remaining in the energy beat will allow me to build on what I have learnt throughout my fellowship and keep in touch with people I have been working with previously.
Over the past five months, I have learnt how EU politics works and what high-quality journalism is all about. Not only have I had the chance to cover major events like EU summits, when European leaders gather in Brussels to discuss history-making matters like Brexit, climate change and the future of the European Union. Also, I have learnt how to produce accessible information concerning political, technical as well as legal matters.
A special remark goes to my colleagues at MLex, thanks to whom I feel more knowledgeable about European politics and “the bubble”. Thanks to their endless support and trust, I now feel more confident as a reporter. But most of all, I feel deeply grateful to Lénaïc’s loving family and friends, especially her parents Aulde and Charles Vaudin d’Imécourt, for this unique opportunity. Without the support of the fund, it would have been impossible for me to develop such valuable skills as a young journalist in Brussels, not to mention to find a proper job.
Journalism in Brussels is a very attractive work perspective, but it’s also very challenging and time-consuming. Regardless of the relatively dynamic job market, it is not easy to find a full-time job as a young reporter. This is why I encourage all European girls keen on journalism and EU affairs to apply for this fellowship. Personally, I have been monitoring the fund’s calls for applications for two years before filling in my own. I have been waiting for the right moment, let’s say. And it has come! So don’t hesitate to give it a try: even if you don’t get to a full-time job afterwards, you will still have a prestigious experience and high-level skills to showcase. And primarily, keeping alive the memory of Lénaïc is a true honour for girls working in this field.
In a few weeks, it will be time for me to pass on the torch to someone else, as a new girl will kick off the sixth fellowship of the Lénaïc Fund for Quality Journalism. I wish her all the best and I look forward to meeting her over a fund’s reunion.
Once a Lénaïc fellow, always a Lénaïc fellow.
June 2, 2019 | Mid-point on my fellowship
As I’m already half-way through my fellowship, not only is it good to look back at the last three months. Also, it is inspiring to reflect on what’s coming next, as this fellowship will allow me to be in Brussels at a crucial point in time for the future of the EU.
The European elections have just taken place and a new era of European politics is about to start. In the next months, after the Parliament, a new Commission will be appointed and it will start fuelling the debate with new policy proposals. And thanks to the Lénaïc Fund for Quality Journalism fellowship, I will be able to closely follow this process, further enhancing my skills as a policy reporter!
In the last weeks, after I was appointed to the energy beat at MLex, I started working autonomously, developing my own stories and building relationships with people working in both the energy and climate field. Other than drawing up short insights and news, I have started writing longer comments in which I can provide a more comprehensive overview of broader developments, such as the impact of the Green surge in the EU elections, or policy initiatives, such as the introduction of a jet-fuel tax.
Differently from my first month, I now feel more confident when I need to approach business men, experts and policy-makers to ask questions or just make a connection. When I go to policy events and discussions around Brussels, I even recognize faces and I don’t fear arranging meetings and interviews.
Picking up the phone to call this or that spokesperson of the Commission, pressure group or researcher is no longer a source of concern. In general, I have become more familiar with the wide range of topics that fall under the umbrella of EU energy and climate policies as well as with the large number of actors involved. And this has made my reporting more effective!
But I am sure that in the last months, I will be able to develop my skills as a reporter even further. Hopefully, I will improve my ability to keep at pace with the promptness of the news cycle and, most importantly, to spot news quickly. I also hope to further improve my drafting skills.
None of this would have been possible without the devoted support of the Lénaïc Fund. For this reason, I really hope that people will keep donating to sustain this unique initiative. Also, as the fund will be able to provide a second fellowship this year, I encourage all the young women who want to kick-start their career as journalists in Brussels to apply and wish you all good luck!
April 8, 2019 | My first post
Becoming a journalist has always been one of my life goals, that very one crucial dream to be pursued with all your passion and commitment. However, dreams do not always come true and, regardless of your efforts, it might seem hardly possible to translate them into reality.
In journalism, the level of competition is really high and everyone always seems more prepared and knowledgeable than you. For these reasons, perseverance and sacrifice may at times just not be enough, so one might need to find someone who’s ready to help and support. This is where the Lénaïc Fund comes into play. It simply enters your life as a wonderful and unexpected gift, which you barely feel like deserving. It almost seems too much, too given. But you basically can’t stop yourself from seizing the unprecedented opportunity you have been silently dreaming of for years, that is working as a reporter in Brussels.
What striked me the most and still does – as I’m still in the process of realizing I can actually enter the EU institutions undisturbed thanks to my brand-new yellow press pass – is that you are not seen as just another intern. You are the Lénaïc Fellow and people who knew her are sincerely interested in meeting you, talking to you and eventually support you in making your way into the Brussels bubble. Being automatically associated with the amazing trade journalist she was is a significant responsibility, but again, it is also part of the gift her whole family and friends’ initiative represents. Last week, Charles and Aulde invited me and the other fellows to the Press Revue, an entertainment show which is a must for journalists working in town. And at that event, full of senior journalists and other influential people, I first realized how huge the impact of this experience will be.
As much rhetorical as it may sound, winning this fellowship literally changes your life.
One day you’re a freshly graduated 24-years old girl trying to understand what to do of her professional career after a traineeship in Germany, and few weeks after you’re helping senior reporters to cover the Summit of the European Council. Clearly, something you would not usually have on your agenda.
Thanks to the placement that is offered, I have landed at MLex, a regulatory newswire which has offices all around the globe. MLex journalism is a peculiar case of high-quality. It focuses on antitrust decisions, legal cases, regulatory changes and risk. This means that all the reporters are highly experienced people who work on very specific beats, such as M&A, competition, trade, Brexit, but without missing the big picture of European and international politics. This makes it an extremely good place where you can learn this profession. Everyone is very busy and thrilled by the stream of the news, nonetheless ready to help, advise and make you learn by doing. There is no special treatment for interns and you basically get involved in the editorial activities since you step into the office.
During my first weeks I mostly helped out other journalists covering competition, trade and Brexit, so that I could familiarize with the basics of reporting on European affairs. But I have also been going to conferences, debates, policy dialogues as well as press briefings where I’ve finally had the chance to see how the European decision-making process – rather boring on the books – works in practical terms. Getting in touch with people you may be willing to interviewing one day is also something I’ve been focusing on these weeks. It is full of stories out there! But it’s also packed with fake news, so you really need to get to talk to the right people in order to produce high-quality pieces of journalism.
As I’m writing this short report, I realize how much I’ve already learnt. This is my first experience as a journalist at a professional level and I didn’t expect to receive so much trust. Since last week, I have been assigned to the energy beat and I started writing my own stories on topics I was once only following, not turning into news myself. Although I’m supposed to be good at it, it’s really hard for me to find the right words to describe the sense of satisfaction mixed with excitement and curiosity I’m feeling. But I can confidently say that now I feel more empowered and legitimate.
At the beginning, after I received the e-mail telling me I had been chosen as the fifth fellow, I was struggling with the idea of having received a gift I wouldn’t have been able to handle properly, because too precious. Now, I am sure that working hard and learning as much as possible are the best ways to show how beautifully and strongly the Lénaïc Fund for Quality Journalism impacts your life and to demonstrate my gratitude for this incredible opportunity, especially to Charles and Aulde.
I’ll be forever grateful.