Tuesday 23 December 2008

The Coulisses of Brussels: Three years and more than 250,000 readers per month

Those who think that a European blog cannot attract a decent readership might consider the latest article published by the Coulisses de Bruxelles:
This blog (and its famous road sweeper) is three years old now: I have posted my first two articles on 12 December 2005. On the counter, the "Coulisses de Bruxelles" now counts 1015 articles that have caused 60,700 comments. In total, 5 million page loads, and according to the counting of Libération, between 250,000 and 300,000 unique visitors every month. This makes this blog the third most read on the site of Libération, after "Secret Défense" by Jean-Dominique Merchet, also a journalist at Libération, and "Sex" (of cause...). To make a long story short: A nice success, which, as I hope, will get bigger with the European elections coming closer. But this only depends on you. Because I won't desist from this new media even though it is much more demanding than the written press. The future of journalism?
(own translation)
These figures are impressive, not least because the blog is about Europe and not less because it is written in French.

And although it possesses the important institutional background of a large and recognised newspaper, it is a substantial indicator that European topics are in the heart of interest of readers, and that with the right approach (i.e. European blogging as a journalistic activity) you can reach out to an audience that is not only passively consuming but intensively debating what is going on on this continent, and in particular within the European Union. Remarkable and enviable!

Therefore: Good luck, Coulisses de Bruxelles, for the years to come!


Ralf Grahn said...


You are quite right to point readers to Jean Quatremer's Coulisses de Bruxelles.

In my humble opinion, it is the best EU blog on three counts: 1) frequency of posting, 2) quality of writing and 3) range of comments.

Is its popularity based on it being written in French or is it popular despite being written in French?

Without any real calculations, but based on my subjective feeling, there seems to be as much Euroblogging in French as in English, so the reason for the popularity of the Coulisses de Bruxelles is not caused by a lack of alternatives in French.

Generally, the French Euroblogs seem to present slightly more variety than the English ones. There are die-hard rejectionists, both nationalistic and far-left, but also varying shades of critical comment and stimulating analysis. One of the weaknesses of most French Euroblogs seems to be that they seldom interact with bloggers or readers in other languages, but remain decidedly French instead of pan-European. (The same seems to apply to French readers, in general, relatively seldom venturing outside their habitat.)

There are quality Eurobloggers in English, like Nosemonkey, Jon Worth, Mardell, the FT Brussels blog and you, but much of the outpouring in English is toxic.

One would imagine that there would be a huge demand for quality blogging, but perhaps the general atmosphere in the UK is either too toxic or totally indifferent with regard to Europe.

Still, the English language has potential. It is the second or third language for many. Although about half of my legal/educational blog come from English speaking countries (UK, Ireland, USA, Canada), the other half consists of readers from the rest of wider Europe (with a sprinkling of Asian readers).