Farewell from the 2017/19 editors!

, by TNF Editorial Board

Farewell from the 2017/19 editors!

The mandate of The New Federalist’s editorial team 2017/19 has come to an end. Before giving way to the new team for the two years to come, we wanted to properly say goodbye to our readers. In this article, Juuso, Radu, Maddie, Lorène, Vera, Paola, Bastian, and Dylan share what working for The New Federalist has meant to them.

Juuso Järviniemi, Editor-in-chief 2017/19

Since the autumn of 2017, TNF has published several hundred articles, each one of them written by a volunteer. We’ve reported on current events and increased Europeans’ knowledge of ongoing debates in each other’s countries. We’ve published young people’s proposals for improving the EU, ensuring that future generations of JEFers can draw inspiration from an ever-growing library of ideas.

Thanks to the energy of volunteers writing for us, over the past two years The New Federalist has grown into one of the most vibrant European-themed youth media out there. On social networks, TNF articles are discussed more than ever before. New people have found JEF through reading The New Federalist. At the same time, dozens of JEFers have taken part in TNF workshops, from Bucharest to Paris. We thank JEF-Europe for helping arrange opportunities for these workshops!

TNF is doing its part in strengthening pan-European public debate and introducing people to federalism. With the new team that is taking over, I’m confident that TNF can make an even bigger contribution towards achieving a federal Europe.

Radu Dumitrescu, Editor-in-chief 2017/19

It’s hard to put years, however few, into words, however many. I started my position at The New Federalist two years ago alongside people that any institution, organization or company would be lucky to have. Together we oversaw the publishing of hundreds of articles, working with the diligence of any full-time, experienced and paid group of journalists and editors – except we were young volunteers doing what we loved in our free time, united in our belief that the European Union is a daring project worth preserving and improving. We reported, summarized, debated, inquired and interviewed. We wrote about Brexit, the common agricultural policy, European defense, about Euroscepticism, Erasmus babies, about projectile-milkshakes and European summer holidays. At times, I believe TNF was the closest thing to an EU-wide news agency that existed. And it was run by a few excited youths. I hope we were able to share that spirit with our readers.

Maddie Pitt, Interviews & Features Officer 2018/19 and Editor-in-chief for 2019/21

I discovered The New Federalist while attending JEF’s media seminar in Berlin in April 2018, and I haven’t looked back! Having been TNF’s Interviews and Features Officer since then, I’ve had all sorts of opportunities I couldn’t have imagined the first time I slightly nervously tuned in for our first editorial skype meeting.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jean Lambert, who has been an MEP for twenty years; Yasmine Ouirhrane, Young European of the Year 2019; and one of my idols Femi Oluwole, co-founder of the anti-Brexit campaign movement of which I’m a member. I also made my first proper podcast, lacing together sound clips from the first People’s Vote March in London, and to my own surprise ended up with something I was quite proud of! I’ve also been working on a blog on Brexit for both TNF and Le Taurillon, which I’ll be continuing – the topic is, unfortunately, only becoming more relevant over time. The highlight of my time, however, was undoubtedly co-hosting the European elections night broadcast alongside Paola and Juuso. I’m still awed by the organisational feat pulled off by Juuso and JEF’s executive board in getting it all broadcast live on YouTube, and despite all the technological hiccups, linking up with JEF members from so many different countries for results and analysis from local branches was an amazing way to harness the wonderful international network of JEF.

I’m now excited to be taking on the editor-in-chief role for the next mandate and continuing the journey with TNF!

Lorène Weber, Chief Translator for French 2017/19

I joined TNF team in quite a particular context: the campaign team I was part of for the election of JEF France’s new executive board had just lost the election, and I was wondering, after this defeat, how I could be involved in JEF. I had just moved to Bruges in Belgium, where no JEF local branch was properly set up, and street actions or ‘Europe at school’ activities were hardly foreseeable. Juuso then encouraged me to apply for the position of Chief Translator for French within ‘The New Federalist’. And, as selfish as it might sound, I eventually felt happy that my team lost. Because if we had won, I would have passed by the formidable experience of belonging to a vibrant, pan-European and multilingual team, wonderfully led by Juuso and Radu for the past two years.

These two years within TNF have confirmed my taste for translation and incentivised me to develop my language skills. They taught me the delicate exercise of proofreading and the challenge to set up my own team of translators. They pushed me into developing partnerships. They drove me to take part in editorial projects and election coverage. They encouraged me to write my own articles, and to dare sharing my opinions.

TNF did not only give me a “virtual” role behind a screen. It also gave me the opportunity to take an active role at the College of Europe in Bruges to set up a team of authors who wrote for the magazine and learned about JEF.

TNF and its sister language editions have been working hard to develop a volunteer-run, youth-led and independent magazine, publishing every day stories, opinions, analysis and coverage of European news and European issues. It is a concrete manifestation of a youth engaged for European democracy, and I am glad and grateful for having been part of this adventure.

The award goes to Juuso and Radu for having managed to gather such a great team and to make the whole process work although we were all living in different countries.

Věra Dvořáková, Chief Translator for Spanish 2017/18

When I applied to become the Chief Translator for the TNF magazine, I had no idea about what I was getting into. Not that the requirements for the position were not clear; it was because I never anticipated how much I would learn or what opportunities I would get. During my “mandate”, I managed to learn a lot about (civic) journalism, Europe, and the JEF network, through our Skype meetings, chats with Juuso, and helping out with the This Week in Europe segment. But apart from that, I also met many inspiring people associated with TNF - from having Juuso and Samuel come to an event in Denmark all the way to meeting Maddie at different TNF/JEF seminars. [1]

What I am trying to say is that being in the editorial board of TNF was an exciting time. It showed me how important it is to get out of one’s social bubble and listen to other young people from another corner of Europe. It taught me that the idea of a youth pan-European webzine is not something impossible. And finally, it enabled me to be a part of an amazing and vibrant team of future European journalists, which is something I draw motivation from to this day.

There are two things I find Europe lacks these days: a rational public debate without dis- or misinformation, and doing this on the European level. The country I come from, the Czech Republic, is not doing well in either of these. Most media outlets are full of this or that (pro-Russian) propaganda and disinformation, meant to scare people so that they would vote for the populists. Together with the unwillingness of our politicians to be cooperative within the EU (and yes, I am talking about the refugee quota system that we boycotted), the public debate has become toxic and destructive for anyone with a bit of pro-European feelings. Sadly, the Czech Republic is not alone in this. Euroscepticism or straight out hatred for the EU are spreading faster than ever: one does not have to look farther than Hungary, Poland or Italy to see that. And this trend is causing a lot of damage.

What is it that I am proposing then? In times like these, we need our public debate to ignore the borders of nation states and to come together in one place. For me, this place, at least for my generation, is The New Federalist. The webzine enables young Europeans, such as myself, to come forward and share their opinions on what is happening on their continent, in their country, in their community. We can discuss it, argue for or against it, agree or disagree. But the important thing is that we do it together on the same platform, not that we close ourselves in the echo chambers of our nation states. What we need right now is more projects like TNF, projects which can foster and promote pan-European journalism and bring us Europeans a little bit closer together.

Paola Lo Bue Oddo, Chief Translator for Italian 2018/19

My time at The New Federalist was thought-provoking, inspiring and stimulating. Even though most of the work of TNF’s team is done online, there was an intense feeling of solidarity, a friendly atmosphere with colleagues, and a youthful desire to make an impact in today’s Europe.

Ever since the start of my work for TNF in winter 2018-alongside chief translators and editors-a warm collaboration ensued. The content of our work was highly interesting. We wrote and translated articles ranging from Russia to the US, the North Pole to Africa, Brexit to the EU and on and on we went. Once I started handling and editing more complicated translations, Juuso’s advice and Lorène’s help proved to be invaluable, as did their cheerful spirit, witty puns and glorious meme-sharing skills.

A point which really impressed me was the closeness of our so-called “JEFers Community”, which is composed by thousands of young EU citizens who strongly believe in the EU’s improvement. Whether I was in Luxembourg working at the EU, in Lithuania hunting for pro-European networks, or in Belgium looking for a couch to crash onto, this fiercely reliable JEFers Community was always there to assist their fellow colleague.

The highlights of my activities at TNF extend far more than overseeing, editing and writing a multitude of articles but also include co-hosting the European elections night broadcast alongside Maddie and Juuso, analysing European elections debates along with Lorène, participating in the Le Grand Format Européen initiative and seeing TNF articles quoted by high level research institutes...The list goes on and on, thus I would highly recommend young EU citizens to join the TNF initiative, which was a wonderful experience!

Bastian De Monte, Chief Translator for German 2018/19

My TNF experience started at the College Europe, where my dear friend and colleague Lorène nudged me to translate articles from and into German. Encouraged by this enriching work which is often not as easy as one might think, I later applied to become Chief Translator.

We –TNF’s editorial team and many, many talented authors– then covered the 2019 European elections like a professional media outlet; my personal highlight being my critical report on the ALDE congress that failed to nominate a Spitzenkandidat. The incoming editorial team will have to closely follow the dawn of the new Commission and whether President von der Leyen, a federalist whose appointment was anything but glorious, fulfills her promise to strengthen European democracy.

TNF is well-suited for that coverage. Not only do we have writers from all across Europe to cover all regions of our continent, by working together, the TNF community –genuinely living the EU’s motto United in diversity– is in the unique position to truly give a European perspective and therefore forge a European public sphere. This, in turn, promotes European democracy and that, finally, is to the benefit of all.

It has been an honor to be part of that journey as a member of the outgoing editorial team, and it will be a pleasure to continue writing and translating for TNF in the future!

Dylan Casey Marshall, Proofreader 2018/19

My TNF experience began as casual reader and JEF member. When the opportunity to join the editorial board presented itself, I couldn’t resist! I did not know quite what to expect, as I had very little journalistic experience when starting at TNF.

I had an amazing year reading many articles on various topics. I had the opportunity to broaden my knowledge on almost every aspect of European affairs, from eurozone reform to the Spitzenkandidaten process to European climate policy and beyond. TNF provided me with a unique experience to gain insights on these topics from various ideological viewpoints from across the European continent. I strongly believe that in the current political landscape, the type of coverage that TNF provides is unique and invaluable.

A highlight of mine was working on coverage of the European elections in May 2019, where we organised a live stream to cover the results. And of course, meeting and working with my wonderful colleagues on TNF’s editorial board was always a pleasure. After working online for months, meeting Lorène and Juuso in person for the first time in Brussels in July was another highlight.

As my mandate on TNF’s editorial board comes to an end, I wish the incoming editors all the best and look forward to continuing reading TNF for years to come!

Footnotes

[1Although I am still yet to meet Lorène.

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