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THE BATTLEGROUND asbl. News Matters in Critical Times. © All Rights Reserved, 2019.
Journalism is under attack. From vested interests, on the right as well as the left. In social media, as well as from traditional media. The digital revolution may not replace newspapers with Facebook. But it is challenging the essence of the news media and may very well up the profile of power-friendly tabloids.
The Battleground is the fightback
site in beta
A non-profit news startup to counter false narratives and propaganda that are eroding trust in politics and the media.
The Battleground will focus on Europe and its influences on, and from, the wider world.
Whether it is migration, climate change, populism or globalisation, we will look behind the news headlines and provide perspective – to give clarity and meaning where there is confusion and conflict.
Ultimately it is about defending democracy.
The situation is compounded by years of declining circulation of old brands as a consequence of the Internet, and the increasing compromise of journalism through commercial pressures, click bait and influence exerted by media moguls on behalf of their political interests. This has allowed a rise of populism in politics to go largely unchallenged, and propaganda largely unchecked.
Europe is under attack. For over 60 years, European integration has reinforced respect for freedom, democracy, human rights, equality and the rule of law on the continent of Europe. But these values are not acquis, not in Europe, nor in the world. 100 years after the First World War, populism and nationalism are again threatening our way of life. More than ever, there is a need for quality journalism to scrutinise developments, shed light on events and speak truth to power.
What’s needed is a new kind of news media, one that shines a light behind the headlines, inspires trust, and promotes ethical journalism. Not as a niche practice, but as a common standard readers can identify with and turn to in times of change. A media, in short, for the public good, which can counter populist narratives and challenge prevailing orthodoxy.
ENTER THE BATTELEGROUND. A news service of big picture analysis and reflection on the stories of our times, TheBattleground.eu will arm readers with relevant background and critical insights to navigate the news flow and interpret events in our changing world. Tackling important topics at critical moments in the news cycle, TheBattleground.eu will publish the salient facts of a story, expose people or parties who are behind false narratives and explain their motivation.
Context is key. No story exists in a vacuum, but few are presented beyond their immediate, national news appeal. Focusing on European news through a global lens, TheBattleground.eu will highlight the geo-political context and connections which illuminate current events in ways today’s news media, with its diminishing word count and dependence on wires, has neither the depth nor space to provide.
Providing perspective - returning to the story again and again - The Battleground will bring continuity and focus, allowing audiences to deepen their understanding of news topics and debates, freed from depending on individual and isolated articles. Perspective, after all, is not just a long read.
The approach is one Team Battleground holds dear. Led by longtime news and current affairs veterans, with expertise covering Europe, as well as the US and the Middle East, TheBattleground.eu will deliver the cosmopolitan, illuminating stories absent from media coverage of the EU and Europe for far too long.
The Battleground may not break populism’s blockade of the press. But it will erode faith in lies, and set a new standard for what journalism ought to do in Europe, if not the world.
The Battleground, in short, is the fightback.
The Battleground will rely on its team’s long history of working in European and international news markets. Drawing equally on European, North American and Middle Eastern correspondents, The Battleground is endowed with a global community of over 40 journalists at its disposal from the start.
Ranging from investigative reporters and photographers to opinion editorialists and television correspondents, TheBattleground.eu will be their outlet to innovate and set news standards for mainstream news media.
40+ contributors from all over the world
TheBattleground.eu will innovate through the premium it will place on the use of photojournalism in its stories.
Boasting large, prominently placed visuals, with an emphasis on curating original images not found in other news media, The Battleground intends to leave as much of a visual impression as it intends to innovate with sound.
What people see today is oftentimes so complex, the right choice in images can be as important to explaining a topic as writing about it. Original images can also be even more effective when combined with stories which emphasise context.
Employing both silent and narrated slideshows, and DIY news and interview videos produced by our contributors, The Battleground’s visual storytelling will provide a fresh platform for today’s young journalists, and their eclectic editorial skillsets, equally at home producing interdisciplinary news content using their iPhones, as staff heavy newsrooms which, as recently as a five years ago, relied on dedicated video teams and studios to produce the same work.
Focusing on Europe’s most important stories, our podcasts will set a new standard in European media for English-language online news radio. Starting out with one podcast per week, The Battleground team will break new ground in its market, offering a mix of talk show style programming, and new music and political field recordings as feature content, published and promoted with the same visibility as the rest of the site’s commissions.
Speaking truth to power and the people that wield it, TheBattleground.eu will provide quality journalism that shines a light on the news stories influencing public debate.
Here are some of the innovative content sections that reflect our unique editorial approach:
Stories that provide geo-political/historical perspectives on the defining issues of our times
The Naked Story
Stories that explain context or clarify meaning
Behind The Lines
Stories that dig deeper to get behind the headlines
Words Have Consequences
Stories that connect political and public discourse with events
The Interrogation Room
Exclusive interviews and in-depth analysis
Books, music, festivals, films that shed light on today's issues
FROM THE PUBLISHER
Politics is personal. Brexit taught me that. It divided family and friends, colleagues and communities. We didn't realise it at the time, but we were being pitted against one another.
We are launching with a focus on the factors that are fuelling populism – in the run up to the European Elections and beyond – looking ahead to the future of Europe.
Meet the founders
TheBattleground.eu has been founded by a team of experienced media and public affairs professionals.
Natalie Sarkic-Todd is an international Brit with a unique background in diplomacy, policy and media gained in London, New York, Russia, the Balkans and Brussels, where she managed a European media network. TheBattleground grew out of her frustration with populist narratives in the UK, Europe and the US, and the conviction that media and politicians must do more to counter them. As publisher, she will ensure stories present the geo-political context, look behind the headlines and arm readers with critical perspectives on the news and politics of our times.
Joel Schalit is a rare media publisher and editor who specialises in Europe, the US and the Middle East, with an added passion for culture and music. His eclectic Israeli and European heritage, combined with journalism and philosophy studies in North America, mean that he has one of the broadest yet razor-sharp minds in the business. As commissioning editor, Joel will source a variety of content from journalists in Europe and around the world and create new audio-visual products to bring TheBattleground.eu to life.
Dominique Ostyn brings almost two decades of experience in European media relations and communication strategy to TheBattleground. As head of communication, Dominique will oversee its branding, communications and marketing activities. His keen business eye and openness to collaboration, innovation and testing new technologies will keep it at the forefront of its sector. Dominique is also the director of communication of the Press Club Brussels-Europe and involved in multiple initiatives that aim to enable Europe's journalists and media.
Mana Livardjani is a multicultural European who grew up speaking French, Spanish, English and Farsi in Strasbourg. Mana has been president of Cafebabel.com Europe’s first multilingual online media magazine for citizen journalists, worked in the European Parliament and ran the office of the Union of European Federalists. Mana’s online media, democracy promotion and NGO background makes her the ideal advisor on effective audience engagement for a news media start-up like TheBattleground.
The Battleground needs you
We are looking for founding members to help fund the start-up phase and the first year of operations whilst we establish a wide readership and membership model.
Whether you are an investor, institution, foundation, NGO or individual, we rely on your support to help us set a new standard for independent news journalism that works in the public interest and is accessible to all.
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WhatsApp: +32 (0)486 763 788