On January 5th 2018, Euro Babble officially had its soft-launch and our website went live. At the time we launched with only a single article I wrote myself and a few caricatures from one of our early contributors. We had big plans and we had already assembled a large group of student volunteers to help us bring Euro Babble to life. Unfortunately, we found out the hard way that coordinating a group of over 50 contributors, who were working remotely and were not being paid for their work, was more difficult than it seems. And so in 2018 we essentially had to rebuild a new team three months after our soft-launch. And yet, through perseverance, a lot of passion, and a number of great articles, Euro Babble slowly began to reach more and more people. Translating only between English, French, German and Spanish initially, we reached 3000 readers in 2018. The following year we tripled those numbers with over 10.000 readers, having added several more languages to the mix.
Keep on walking
2020 was a hard year for all of us and we’ve had many different kinds of setbacks, both personally and as an organisation. And yet, despite all of this, Euro Babble stands as a shining example of our continued commitment.
Instead of four languages, Euro Babble now offers eight. We have established multiple partnerships with different outlets and event organisations, received more and more guest posts and regular contributors and formed a large, but manageable team of writers and translators.
Praise from the European Commission
In 2019 we were assessed by the European Commission, during an application for a certain prize. While the Commission had some justified criticisms to offer, their feedback was filled with praise that motivated us greatly. They noted our writing style is “not overly complicated, engaging and fresh,” that our “content is readily accessible, the website is user-friendly, and well structured.” Our articles are “evidence based and myth busting” and the “overall journalistic quality of the checked content is good to very good.” They also noted our potential to reach the entirety of the EU and develop into a “counterpart to traditional news outlets”. Lastly, they noted that our “reach is more than solid.”
Reaping the fruits of hard labour
What the Commission did not know at the time and neither did we, was that Euro Babble was about to come into its own in 2020. As I discussed earlier, we increased our readers by more than triple in 2019. But we did not stop growing in 2020 and we ended up reaching over 35.000 people this past year. That’s right, we more than tripled the number of readers again this year. The impact of the pandemic can of course not be discounted, even though our statistics show that our numbers were similar in January, compared to March or April.
Our largest cohort of readers was attracted in November, and I am quite proud and humbled that it was my article on racism and the treatment of Slavs in Europe, that has beaten our previous record for most read new article and was read over 3600 times in English, nearly 300 times in Spanish, over 200 times each in Polish and German, over 150 times in French and Russian, and 50 times in Dutch and Italian. Other notable articles that had a big impact for us include our story on the Romani’s treatment in the Balkans and on gender equality in Europe, as well as our report on the lack of diversity in the European institutions.
This one’s still good!
But Euro Babble is not just about fresh content, like most other outlets. We make sure that the majority of our articles can be read long after they were first published and this strategy is paying off.
In October 2018 we published an article on why the Balkan states are having difficulties joining the EU. In 2020 it was our most read article with almost 6000 reads in English, almost 3000 reads in German, over 800 in Polish and nearly 700 reads in French. Our translations of the Austrian newspaper der Standard‘s article on the cucumber bending regulation myth was also hugely successful with over 1000 reads, as were all our older articles on the Balkans and migration.
We are also very happy that certain articles about specific countries have gained some popularity in other countries. For example our 2018 article on the Italian electoral system has suddenly found an audience in Poland, as has this year’s myth-busting article on African migration to Europe.
We mainly focus on our European audience, which is steadily growing, but we have also picked up an interested international audience, looking for more information on Europe and/or our unique perspective. In 2020 we reached people almost everywhere across the globe. Only 8 countries in the world were not touched by us (and no, we did not forget about all the small island states).
Our top 10 audience countries were the USA, Germany, Poland, the UK, Italy, Belgium, France, Netherlands, Spain and Austria. We are also happy to report that Switzerland, Ireland and Russia have made it into our Top 20 and that we have had generally fair reach across the EU and wider European continent.
Seeing these numbers for ourselves is great, but sometimes it really helps us to keep going, if others also recognise what we have built over the years. That is why we are incredibly humbled and overjoyed to receive the 2020 ECAS Award for mobile citizens shortly after our 3rd anniversary. The award recognises our achievement in broadening the media landscape and opening it up to cross-border consumption by EU citizens, and encouraging inter-EU mobility by showing off all the interesting curiosities Europe has to offer its citizens.
I know I speak for everyone at Euro Babble when I say that after a very strenuous 2020, this award is exactly what we needed to reinvigorate us and give us the strength to not only keep going, but develop Euro Babble further. So to end my reflection on the last year(s), I’d like to thank you, all of our readers, for sticking with us and introducing so many more people to our humble little medium. We truly appreciate it and hope you’ll keep enjoying our old and new articles and formats, and will equally like some of our new developments that we will trial over the coming months and years ahead.