A dynamic community of bloggers, journalists and journalism students, a forum alive with debate and discussion, a creative portal to inspire youth involvement with the 2009 Parliamentary Elections - brought to you by the European Journalism Centre (EJC).

TH!NK launched  in February ‘09 and can be accessed via the www.eu4journalists.eu site as well as the www.milkshaker.eu . You can also find us on facebook.

The information age is changing and digital communication is setting the standard for the way news travels; online media brings people together through this sharing of information.  Blogs are a medium of communication which provide a window into the lived experience of  its authors. Blogs make stories personal, and the European Elections directly affect the lives of the 400 million Europeans, even though voter turn out has been decreasing steadily.  Thus, the EJC has chosen a blogging competition to encourage Europeans to  TH!NK ABOUT IT.

The European Journalism Centre’s goal is to get European youth to TH!NK about the European Union, to engage in the political arena, and to inform themselves about the Parliamentary Elections in June 2009. The EJC invited bloggers from each of the 27 European member states to participate in TH!NK ABOUT IT, totalling 81 participants.

The EJC then invited these 81 bloggers to a 2-day event in Brussels where participants met each other, networked and learned about blogging and the EU. The event’s programme was both a conference and a conversation, and included a full day at the European Parliament.

TH!NK ABOUT IT encourages Europeans to express their ideas and concerns about the  European Union through four months of writing, reporting and covering developments in the EU. The competition begins on February 1st and ends June 9th.

The invited bloggers will cover, critique and debate on campaign issues and candidates. The bloggers are also a part of a social community where they can network, share ideas and get support from the official TH!NK Editors.
The TH!NK Editors are Andreas Mullerleile (Kosmopolito), Jon Worth (jonworth.eu) , Daniel Antal (Central Europe Activ), Nanne Zwagerman (DJ Nozem) and Ruth Spencer (EJC). The first three editors have extensive education in EU affairs and/or have political blogs. Ruth Spencer is an Associate Editor at the EJC and offers proof reading and language help to the TH!NKers.

The editors will give feedback on the blog posts, techniques, topics and journalistic standards used in the blog posts. Each editor is responsible for a group of 20 bloggers to track throughout the competition. The editors will also be involved in the allocation of prizes. Read more about that here. To find out more about the editorial activity on TH!NK, you can find each editor on the community here: Jon, Andreas, Nanne, Daniel and Ruth.

The EJC has received some financial support for the blogging competition from the European Commission.

This is a moderated site for interested parties from the around the world. We expect participants to treat one another with respect. We shall not post comments that contain vulgar or abusive language, personal attacks of any kind, or offensive terms that target specific ethnic or racial groups. In addition, we shall not post comments that are clearly “off topic” or spam, that promote services or products, or that make unsupported accusations. Please note that prizes are subject to availability. In addition, the contest seeks originality of the work. Any form of plagiarism is therefore prohibited. Participants should reference sources as much as possible, but make sure that all reference links and quotes are accurate. These elements will be considered in the selection process.

The Blogs

Each blogger will post at least once a month minimum (February 1 – June 9, 2009) on the TH!NK ABOUT IT blogsite.

In February and March, any European-related topic is welcome and from April-June the theme is the European Elections 2009 (issues, candidates, parties, EP, national views on the elections).

Photos, audio and video are always encouraged! Postings have to be made in English but it does not have to be perfect English; EJC Associate Editor Ruth Spencer is available to help with language, if the blogger wishes.

Posts are publicly available and comments are strongly encouraged from readers and TH!NKers alike. Please see our disclaimer for information about content moderation.

The Votes

The voting of the posts is the easiest way to get involved with TH!NK. Each blog post has a star rating 3 votes, average: 4.67 out of 53 votes, average: 4.67 out of 53 votes, average: 4.67 out of 53 votes, average: 4.67 out of 53 votes, average: 4.67 out of 5 beneath it. Anyone can vote on the posts that touch, move or inspire them. Voting is strongly encouraged!!

Votes will be calculated based on the number of votes, and the rating as well.

Your votes matter and they matter a lot. Your votes determine both the Monthly Winner of TH!NK ABOUT IT and contribute towards the grand Jury’s decision of the competition winners.

The Selection Process

There will be prizes awarded in June for Impact, Quality and Overall winner. There will also be one prize per month for the Viewer’s Choice Award.

Each month editors will submit an excel sheet (provided by the EJC) featuring the top 5 blog posts of the month within his group of bloggers. These posts will be rated on quality, impact, relevance, creativity, journalistic standards and use of blogging technology. If an individual writer shows a great improvement in writing or exceptional effort, this will also be taken into consideration. The number of posts each blogger makes per month will also be considered. Editors will also have room to make general comments about the posts. These sheets will be used by the International Jury in determining the prizes in June.

The EJC will announce the Viewer’s Choice winners each month and will bring together an international jury to decide the winners in June ‘09. The EJC will also be responsible for distribution of prizes. The international jury will be announced in May.

The Awards:

The following Awards will be selected by the international jury in June, 2009:

Best ‘Think about it.’ Blog Award
1 overall winner will be selected by the international jury.

Prize: Mac laptop

Best Quality Blog Award
20 quality bloggers will be selected by the international jury
Prize: iPhone

Most Impact Blog Award
5 bloggers who brought most impact to discussion on the topics will be selected by the international jury.
Prize: iPhone

The following Awards will be selected by online voters in February, March, April and May:

Viewers Choice of the Month Award:
Selected by online voters throughout the spring 2009.
Prize: iPhone

All participants get a certificate for four months of publishing in a European online publication. Surprise prizes will be revealed in the January launch event.

Roles and Guidelines

Bloggers’ Role

Wordpress To blog 1x/month minimum on the Wordpress platform
To abide by the rules of the platform
Community Join the community and network with other TH!NKers
To abide by the rules of the community

Editors’ Role

Wordpress To comment on posts to stimulate discussion and give feedback
Community To communicate with bloggers
Offer support and guidance with topics
Point out resources
Editors are free to post at will on their blogs in the community

EJC’s Role

Wordpress To provide the bloggers with the TH!NK platform and community
Ruth Spencer will provide language support for any blogger who requests it - spencer@ejc.net
Moderate and monitor posts and comments for any inappropriate language or content - see Disclaimer
Community The EJC is available to answer any blogger queries or language concerns
Moderate and monitor posts and comments for any inappropriate language or content
Point out resources
Editors are free to post at will on their blogs in the community