Hear from Louise Guillot, the recipient of our sixth fellowship

I never thought I would actually be standing here today, wearing a yellow badge around my neck with the inscription ‘press’ written on it, walking in the corridors of the European Parliament or attending the midday press briefing at the European Commission. But here I am, in the heart of the European institutions reporting on decisions made by policymakers that will impact hundreds of millions of European citizens. Therefore, I am incredibly lucky and gratefully to the Lénaïc Fund for Quality Journalism, that gave me the chance to live this experience this year as its sixth fellow.

I started reporting a few years ago, just as kind of a hobby at first, because I am passionate about Europe and EU politics. Then I got more and more involved in the daily management of a news website on EU affairs – Le Taurillon – run by volunteers only. Now, I feel extremely blessed and proud at the same time, to be able to start my career as a European journalist here in Brussels when I thought it will remain a dream. Today, I found myself being part of this big and diverse community of European reporters, who are tracking every move and every declaration of EU policymakers.

My first weeks at POLITICO have been incredibly challenging, I am not going to lie. But, it’s not a bad sign, on the contrary even, because it shows that I am learning something new every day. When I arrived on October 1, I started working on breaking news for the first three weeks, following the coverage of major European outlets and writing my first articles. Editors immediately challenged me on my style, my tone and the structure of my articles. Not having studied journalism before, all of this was quite new to me since I have been learning-by-doing as an amateur reporter. The organization and the work in the newsroom at POLITICO is a big change of scale compared to what I experienced before. But I am grateful that, even if always busy, my colleagues are always available to answer my questions and very kind.

I have also been very lucky to find so much support from the other Lénaïc fund fellows currently working at POLITICO or elsewhere in Brussels. They have been very supportive, always ready to answer any of my (numerous) questions and to give me some tips to better understand how this giant European machinery works in practice.

After learning the basics of reporting in my first days at the office, I joined the sustainability team. I started to dive deeper and decode EU policies related to biodiversity, waste or plastic pollution for instance. I am happy that I will publish my first story together with Eline Schaart, who is the fourth fellow of the Lénaïc Fund.

It’s been an enormous amount of information to absorb in only a couple of weeks, but such a great learning experience! Thus, I will always be grateful for the opportunity and the support of the Lénaïc fund.

You can follow my journey on Twitter.