History

The European Journalists Network began life under the name of the International Press Association (IPA), founded in Helsinki in 1968.

History

The IPA’s founding purpose was to create an organization for foreign correspondents from both east and west. By special dispensation from the Minister of the Interior, it was allowed to register its statutes in English.

The rival Western Foreign Press Club of Helsinki (WFPC) decided not to admit members from eastern Europe, whom it did not regard as real journalists. During the Cold War, Helsinki was indeed a centre of espionage.

The IPA ignored the politics of its members and attracted journalists from the developing world and China as well as the Soviet bloc. Its meetings appealed to westerners too and it soon had far more members than the WFPC.

The WFPC struggled on for several decades, but its recruitment was generally unsuccessful. When most of its members had retired, it became a social club.

By the 1990s, the IPA was also struggling. The collapse of the Soviet bloc had cut the number of East European correspondents, and made the Nordic area less interesting to western media. Many foreign news organizations felt they no longer needed their own man in Helsinki.

Finnish journalists who followed European affairs were now joining the Eurooppa-toimittajat – ET. This association was founded in Helsinki in 1992 and served as the local branch of the Belgium-based Association of European Journalists (AEJ).

The IPA was absorbed into the ET in 1998. Later in the year, an ET member, Pat Humphreys, was elected secretary general of the pan-European AEJ. He headed the international secretariate in Brussels for the next two years.

However, public and press enthusiasm for the EU was waning throughout Europe and a federalist image was becoming a burden. In 2001 the international AEJ split after an argument about voting rights.

Once again, Nordic-based journalists interested in international affairs needed an association that had no political agenda. In 2007, the ET revised its statutes, becoming the European Journalists Network.

 

Chairs of the IPA 1968-1998 Raimo Arhela, Ralf Friberg, Thomas Romantschuk, Joe Brady, Pat Humphreys
Chairs of the ET 1992-2007 Matti Karhu, Eeva Haltsonen, Juha-Pekka Kervinen, Ralf Friberg
President of the EJN 2008-2017 Adrián Soto
President of the EJN 2017-present Violetta Teetor