Wobbing (*) Europe was a project of Journalismfund.eu (at that time The Pascal Decroos Fund). It was initiated in 2007 and initially subsidized by the Flemish government. The main aim was to further and facilitate the use of freedom of information legislation for journalistic research in Europe.
Wobbing.eu was network and website that aims at helping journalists (and others) to get reliable information about politics and public administration.
Wobbing.eu supported one journalistic method: The gathering of information by using freedom of information legislation. This generates hard information that can be analysed and reported, when journalists help citizens to scrutinize political life and public administration. This is a crucial task in a modern democracy, where rational arguments need hard information to be built upon.
Wobbing.eu used networking between journalists on very high level and on average level as a method to generate stories and knowledge. Wobbing.eu gathered knowledge, experience and inspiration about FOI legislation used for journalistic research on its website. Though the target group consists of journalists, the site thus was also a tool for everybody, who wanted to use freedom of information legislation in Europe.
Wobbing.eu was a tool for journalists, who wanted to get hold of the real story. Wobbing.eu provided an overview over transparency legislations in Europe countries. We developed a step-by-step description on how to use the legislation on EU-level as well as in some member states. For other member states we linked up to existing handbooks.
We wanted to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and experience concerning FOI, cross-border networking and not least mutual inspiration.
Journalismfund.eu initiated the first Eurowobber meeting in 2008 gathering almost 20 of the best wob-journalists from those European countries, where wob-results can be achieved. The first Eurowobber meeting was supported by the Open Society Institute Media Program. In 2009 the second Eurowobber meeting was held in Utrecht with 20 participants, this time with economic support from the European Journalism Centre in Maastricht.
From the autumn of 2009 Wobbing.eu got a one year grant from the OSI Media Program to refine the website, strengthen the network and elaborate the Wobbing.eu niche between other players in the field, for example by sharing news rather the replicating them etc.. In November 2009 we organised an international 2-days conference for European Press FOIA Practitioners "Wobbing in Europe 2009" in Utrecht in collaboration with the Dutch Flemish Association of Investigative Journalists (VVOJ).
In 2011 The European Investigative Journalism Conference / Dataharvest was created from these encounters.
(*) (Wobbing is a verb, it is Dutch journalist’s slang for using the Freedom of Information legislation.)