Euronews: 20 years go storytelling

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The new year means a birthday for the channel you’re watching – euronews started life 20 years ago.

It was born out of war. The European Broadcasting Union saw how the US 24-hour news channel CNN has dominated international coverage of the First Persian Gulf War and decided there should be a European version.

The European Union and 10 of the region’s public broadcasters provided the initial resources and expertise with studios in the south-eastern French city of Lyon.

Over the years the look of the station changed, but the principle remained the same “World news from a European perspective”.

By 2001, Portuguese and Russian had been added to the initial five languages – English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.

More languages have followed, along with the involvement of new shareholders – the success of al-Jazeera and other Arabic language broadcasters prompted the European Union to fund an Arabic service.

It was followed by Turkish, Farsi for Iranian viewers, and then Ukrainian.

Changes in technology have led to a major expansion of the station’s presence on the internet and social media such as Facebook and Twitter as well as podcasts and YouTube.

As people increasingly watch not on televisions, but on computers, tablets and even mobile phones that is where you will find the output, as euronews goes app happy.

The original on-air style of no presenters – just the images telling the story – has also been modified.

Now you are more and more likely to see a euronews reporter on scene as the emphasis has changed from video and reports from our partner stations to the use of our own journalists, often operating out of a growing network of bureaus that have been opened in places like Brussels, London, Doha, Cairo, Paris, Moscow, Kiev, and Washington.

For the first time, whole language services are being based outside the main studios.

Starting with a Greek newsroom in Athens, to be followed by a Hungarian service from Budapest – the 13th language.

With new languages, the audience grows averaging seven million viewers every day, in 150 countries via satellite and cable as well as rebroadcasts by terrestrial channels.

So after 20 years of story telling, it’s time to look to the future with some encouraging words from the top man at the United Nations, Ban Ki moon who said: “I sincerely hope that euronews will continue to provide such news to the world meeting the expectation of the international community”

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