Interviewing Tsipras (Biggest Name in Headlines)… NBD

This summer is a crazy time to report in Brussels, Belgium. At Thomson Reuters we cover a ton of topics, but the Greek debt crisis consumes most of our time and energy recently. It may not seem like that big of a deal to everyone at home, but it has consistently been at the top of media headlines from many countries this summer (including the US). I wanted to share some of the things that I have been working on with everyone at home because the videos we produce are bought by media companies all over the world. So many of the things we put out from Reuters in Brussels ends up on CNN and other American news channels.

So why exactly is Greece a big deal and what exactly have I been working on?

Last night history was made. Greece had been fighting default for five years, but last night Greece missed a payment to the International Monetary Fund and they are the first developed country to do so. The Greek crisis is far from over. Greece is headed down a path to leave the Euro and there is fiery tension between the Greek government and their creditors as well as other EU leaders.

I must say that reporting in a foreign country is difficult, but it is even more challenging to be thrown into such an important and complex story. The past two weeks have been a marathon for political reporters here in Brussels. Here are the three main types of meetings that we covered in regards to Greece.

  1. Eurogroup Meetings – The Eurogroup meetings are between all of the finance ministers from countries that use the Euro.
  2. European Summits – European Summits are meetings between the heads of state of all 28 EU member-states.
  3. Meetings between key EU figures and Tsipras – There were frequent meetings between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and key EU people such as Juncker, Dijsselbloem, Draghi, Lagarde and Schulz.

Working these events can be challenging, but I have interviewed some of the world’s top leaders regarding one of the biggest international stories of the year. I was standing just an arms length away from Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras when he said the highly-used quote about how EU leaders are blackmailing Greece. At this point in time, the world thought that Greece was wanting to reach a deal, but I got to see the expression in his eyes and the demeanor in which he stormed out of the EU Summit first-hand. I told my colleagues that did not see his it up-close that Greece was out. Sure enough, Tsipras called for a referendum later that night.

That video of my interview with Alexis Tsipras was bought by over 75 clients around the world. My video was on top news channels across the world including CNN. Here is the interview published on Reuters’ website (about 30 seconds in).

During the month of June, the Reuters Video News Team in Brussels produced an all-time record of 116 stories in one month. 116 stories does not sound like very much, but I would like to add that there are only 5 real employees and 2 interns at this branch.

I started thinking about all of the world leaders that I have either interviewed, held a microphone up to for a statement or filmed at a press conference. Here is the list.

  • Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras
  • British Prime Minister David Cameron
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel
  • Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi
  • President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz
  • European Central Bank President Mario Draghi
  • President of the European Council Donald Tusk
  • Eurogroup President Jereon Dijsselbloem
  • IMF President Christine Lagarde
  • And countless financial minister

Paris is always a good idea – Audrey Hepburn

… and a good idea it was.

YouWine in Paris have probably heard it before, but I am going to say it again anyway. Paris is absolutely magical. If you are traveling to Europe, I highly recommend spending at least a few days in Paris. You will never run out of things to see.

When we first arrived on Friday, we dropped our stuff off in our AIrbnb and got food at this little restaurant near our place. Of course, we ordered some French wine.

After dinner and some drinks we walked along the river and got to see some of Paris’ major monuments at night. The river was full of cute couples and groups of friends sitting around with blankets and bottles of wine. You could say that it was a perfect idea to get acquainted to the city when we first got it. I just wish that we had some more time to sit along the river as well.

That night, we went to the Eiffel Tower to see it lit up at night. I highly highly recommend going to the tower at night because it completely took my breath away.  The tower sparkles for two minutes on the hour every night (but if you’re going be aware that 1 a.m. is the last time it sparkles). It was my favorite thing I have done over my entire month in Europe so far. It is a must-see.

The next day, we got brunch at the cutest restaurant. We tried various breads and spreads and (of course) drank some mimosas. We then set off on our day of art exploring. We went to the Louvre which was so much larger than I imagined. I could have spent hours in there. It is easy to get lost and overwhelmed in the Louvre, but I followed the signs to the most well-known pieces and saw a lot of other great artwork along the way.

After the Louvre, we went to Musee d’Orsay. This museum was much smaller, but it is in an old train station. The architecture of the building was amazing along with some great Monet paintings.

Sunday morning I finally fulfilled my crepe craving and got the foamiest cappuccino I’ve ever seen.

As we were walking to Notre Dame, we ran across the Love Lock bridge. We read in the news earlier that they were taking all of the locks down, so we didn’t expect to see a bunch of the locks still there when we went. I wish that I knew they were still there because I would have brought a lock, but at the same time it would have been a little depressing putting a lock on there knowing it would be torn down.

Then, we went to go see Notre Dame. We planned on taking a tour up to the top to see the bells, but the line would’ve wasted our whole day. Instead, we noticed that there was mass going on because it was Sunday, so we decided that was a better option. I am Protestant, not Catholic, but mass at Notre Dame was a spiritual experience no matter what faith you practice. I’m going to attach pictures because there are no adjectives to describe this kind of beauty.

After Notre Dame, we went back to the Eiffel Tower to see it in the daylight.


Then we went to the Arc de Triomphe, which holds their tomb of the unknown soldier.

I wish we had more time in Paris, but it was an amazing weekend none-the-less! I hope I get the opportunity to go back at some point in my life.