Wednesday | 29. March 2017

Field Trip to Brussels: European Commission Invites Master Class Media and Communication Management

The European Commission is the independent political executive of the EU. Following its invitation and thanks to the organization of PR Professor Dominik Pietzcker, the third semester master class Media and Communication Management from Berlin spent three days in Brussels. Here they not only got the chance to look behind the scenes of this central European institution, but also got a profound idea of its functions and measures of communication. A review by master student Nora Werbeck.

In times of growing populism, refugee crisis and economical changes, the European Union is constantly subject of harsh criticism. Therefore, it has become even more important for both Europeans and Non-Europeans living in the EU to really understand its concept in order to be able to have an own opinion about it. For this reason, PR and Communication Management Professor Dr. Dominik Pietzcker took his PR course from the third semester of the international Master program Media and Communication Management to Brussels from March 20th – 22nd. The students had been invited to the Belgian capital by the European Commission to spend two days at its facilities in order get an in-depth understanding of its work.

Visit in Brussels: Three days of critical discussion about the EU

Over two days, the students met speakers from various departments of the Commission who addressed central topics of the EU: from migration politics over the creation of a European single market to opportunities and threats imposed by free digital data flow within EU-borders, the Master class was exposed to the most urgent questions the EU is dealing with at the moment and had the opportunity to discuss them with the spokespeople of various departments. “Especially now that the European idea is vehemently criticized it appeared crucially important to me to offer the students the opportunity of forming their own opinions of the European Union and enabling them to voice their own thoughts about it. Privileged and extensive insights into the mechanics and communication channels of the EU beyond official appearances seemed to me to be the perfect way to achieve that goal”, explains Pietzcker.

Highlight on Day 1: Learning about the Social Media Strategy of the European Commission

One highlight of the first day was Pablo Peréz Armenteros' (Communication & Information Officer Unit Web & Social Media) presentation of the European Commission's social media strategy. While some branches use social media mainly for distributing entertaining content in order to bind users, the commission has a different agenda: "Our goal is to educate and to create useful content instead of generating user engagement only through sharing catchy campaigns.” Armenteros and his team use the accounts on Social Networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or LinkedIn not only to inform varying target groups about current events and to advertise topics of the EU, but also to quickly answer questions and explain situations. Thus, Social Media serves both as a relatively inexpensive advertising tool for the European Union and important instrument to monitor its citizens attitudes and recognize problems or issues before they can evolve.

Highlight on Day 2: Visit of the TV studios & discussion about the EU's trade policy

While Day 1 was packed with informative lectures and theoretical input, day 2 included a little excursion for the students: Where normally Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and his colleagues have to face the critical questions of journalists, now the students were able to get a look behind the scenes when they visited the Commission’s TV studios. Harald Eeckels of the Audiovisual Service guided the group through the extensive facilities and explained the concept: journalists can book a complete production package including sound engineers, camera assistants and lightning technicians here. The only thing the Audiovisual Service does not provide is the interview date with the respective Commission member – that the journalists need to get on their own. The students listened fascinated to D’Hondts stories of his encounters with the political elite before they went on to witness the daily press briefing. Here, the Macromedia students were able to get an impression of the daily business of journalists based in Brussels.

Entertaining combination of information, discussion and sightseeing

Inspired by the international flair of the Commission and incited to critically question given circumstances, later that afternoon the students took the chance to interview Press & Media Officer Alexander Walford of the Directorate General Trade about the EU’s trade agreements. The students’ information visit of the Commission ended with a heated discussion about TTIP, Trump, advantages and disadvantages of international trade agreements. Three days of stimulating impressions, interesting talks and useful new contacts were completed by a visit to the sights of Brussels, a few glasses of Belgian later that evening and a visit of the German embassy including an introduction into cultural politics the next morning. Prof. Dominik Pietzcker shared the students' contentment with the trip: “Especially at the end of a study program it is very useful to give an impulse for institutional communication on an EU-level. This contributes to the main goals of an international master study program.”

Want to have more impressions from Macromedia’s trip to Brussels? For a complete photo album visit our Facebook page. And here you can find out about all study programs at our Graduate school.


Thanks to the organization of professor Dominik Pietzcker, the master class Media and Communication Management was invited by the European Commission to spend three days in Brussels.

Over two days, the students heard lectures about the EU's most crucial topics.

A visit of the Commission's TV studios was also part of the program.

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