How many international organizations/prime ministers did I interview this week?

For those of you that are not familiar with international politics, Europe is in a mass of chaos right now and it is our jobs as journalists to make some sense of everything and report it to the world. For those of you who have not been keeping up with my travels abroad, I am interning at Thomson Reuters in the TV department. Essentially what we do is report all of the big international news and we sell our videos and stories to other news stations and newspapers, etc.

Greece is currently in an economic crisis and they need to repay the IMF (International Monetary Fund) by June 30 or they will face default and potentially get kicked out of the EuroZone (but nobody actually seems to want that to happen). Basically, as the deadline approaches, our job as journalists is to keep up with the progress of the negotiations. The entire world has their eye on Greece right now.

This week, I reported for a meeting between President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, President of the European Council Donald Tusk and Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem. We waited by the main entrance to get video of them arriving and leaving and I held the microphone and attempted ambush-like interviews. Not everyone came in the main entrance. but I interviewed Donald Tusk and Jereon Dijsselbloem. Now, they did not want to say much, but it was still very cool.

I got to go to Luxembourg this week for the Eurogroup meeting. We left on Wednesday night and went straight to work on Thursday morning. I covered the arrival of Christine Lagarde from the IMF. When she was in a meeting, we set up the live shot for the press conference. She mostly spoke in French, but I finally asked if she could repeat what she said in English also. (Many journalists were happy about that and we needed an English sound bite for our customers anyway). She essentially said that the IMF will not consider an extension and that Greece will face default if they do not make the repayment by the end of the month. She also criticized Greece for not reforming their pension plan. Our video can be found on all kinds of media sites, but here is one example!

Working for Thompson Reuters at the Lagarde press conference.

Working for Thompson Reuters at the Lagarde press conference.

Then, I went to the Eurogroup meeting where I held the microphone at the departures. Some of the Finance Ministers held press conferences that other coworkers covered, but some talked to me on the way out. It is a bit intimidating to say the least to be working with the world’s best journalists and interviewing such influential people. It’s especially intimidating to talk to the big names such as Greece’s Minister of Finance (since he is so important in the news right now), but the skills that I have learned at KOMU and in the J-School honestly have prepared me. I just have to calm my nerves and have faith in my reporting skills (easier said than done).

Taking a second to laugh while filming the Finance Minister departures at the Eurogroup meeting,

Taking a second to laugh while filming the Finance Minister departures at the Eurogroup meeting,

Basically, my internship is so much work. I am constantly working more hours than everyone and at weird times. I am almost never able to attend class and I had to take an exam the day before everyone else via Skype. Honestly, my days are long and exhausting. I am working harder than ever before. But at the end of the day, this is the opportunity of a lifetime. I am working for the world’s largest news agency in the most politically important city at such a critical time. All of that makes the hard work worth it.

Foreign Interviews and World Leaders: EU-CELAC Summit

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I have learned a lot this past week and a half since I wrote about my internship, so I thought I would post an update.

Thursday I covered a story at the European Parliament. The UN presented an appeal for more money to go towards humanitarian acts in Iraq. After the presentations were over, we went to the hall and I got to conduct one-on-one interviews. My first interview was with Lise Grande, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Iraq. Then, I got to interview Anthony Lake, the Executive Director of UNICEF. Lastly, I interviewed the Kurdistan Regional Government Minister for Planning, Ali Sindi. It was incredible to get to interview such high-profile people. When we got back to the office, my boss was happy and said that I got good vox-pops (soundbites). The cameraman that I was with cut the videos and I wrote the shotlist in iNews and worked on the story. It was the first real story that I did and I really enjoyed it.

Waterloo is a really big deal here in Belgium and this summer is the bicentennial. Basically, 200 years ago Napoleon was defeated in the Battle of Waterloo, which is near Brussels. Belgium is very proud of this and made a proposal to have a commemorative €2 coin in honor of the battle. Well, to make that real, all countries in the EuroZone (countries that use the Euro) would need to approve. Obviously, France wasn’t happy about it and wouldn’t approve it, so Belgium withdrew the proposal. They got around this rule by creating a €2.5 coin and a €10 coin (that is not actually valid currency) to be a collectors’ item. I went to a press conference about the new coins and then helped shoot video of the coins being made, which made for some cool sequences. This story was targeted for our French clients, so I came up with questions with one of the print interns that speaks French and then he asked them because I could not. When I got back, I wrote the story and shot list in iNews.

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This week was the EU-CELAC Summit where the heads of European and Latin American countries met for discussions. Getting into the European Council building is worse than airport security, but there was a bomb threat here while we were here yesterday, so I guess I understand why. I went out and helped cover a Mexican protest. The protestors mentioned the students that went missing and an unclean recent election as reasons why they want the EU to stop supporting the current Mexican President because they believe he is not helping Mexico’s situation. It was interesting. I conducted my first interview in a foreign language. Gracias professora Reina. The summits are a lot of rushing around to wait. It’s a lot of rushing to press conferences to hear that they are cancelled or rushing to get an interview and then waiting a long time before anything else happens. Either way, it is really cool to be here with some of the world’s top leaders.