02 March, 2007

The American-isms

This was never meant to be a blog about my bug-bares. but I am continually thinking that my computer is out to upset me. I found a new mouse and now it only understands want I am trying to do about, say, 5% of the time. I wouldn't mind except it keeps on clicking on things whenever it sees it. I swear, maybe it is because Alex can be a boy's name I get up to 20 different viagra programmes (which is always exciting to see what they come up with [excuse the pun] next).

Anyway, what's been interesting me lately is the difference between the Americans and the British. despite the obvious accents. Do we have different ideas when it comes to PR, and having said that, attitudes in general.

Now that sounds very simplistic. Obviously a) Yes we do and b) Yes of course. But let me 'break it down for y'all

In America (sorry if you are from there and feel free to disagree) there is no culture of national newspaper. Don't get me wrong, there is the USA Today and the Times. But, apart from them, in the whole country, really there are no national papers, well not how we British imagine. For example, (to get into the mentality) it is a bit like coming from a small village where all you rely on for news is the local paper, which (although doing a bang-up job) gives you only the local news. Now imagine that on a bigger scale (and yes, I do realise that most of the states are bigger then England, but here-in lies my point).

Now as PRs, whose job it is to know and read all the media, I don't envy those in the US one little bit. Imagine, you have to read all the local news, just to know whats going on. And I mean ALL the local news. From the Croydon Advertiser to the Yorkshire Post up to The Record. Everything. As much as I eat up news, as much as I enjoy the thrill of being up-to-date with everything. I don't envy having to sort through what is going to in order to spark conversation and interest and with the time difference all the time (sorry) what is totally news-worthy that you have to have waking people up to comment on, only to find it isn't local enough. Nightmare.

But, and I eluded to it earlier, it is a different market. And the more I work on international things the more I realise that, much like you can never count on your computer (see what I did there by bringing it back to the beginning - Richard Bailey taught me that [and plus the American office, from my experience are about twenty time more efficient than I probably am so it isn't really fair to mention them alongside my PC])

a) There is no such thing as a 'nationwide press' only demographics of readers and secondly

b) If you message is strong enough, then people will be interested, whether it is a local story or otherwise.

But I think that sometimes in the UK we don't fully realise how different it is. We are brought up on a media diet of so much nationwide choice, that often the American market can seem like a different world entirely. And one I (would personally love to 'do a Paull' and see) would one day hope to understand and see.

20 comments:

Chris Clarke said...

In Canada we have two national newspapers, but living in Toronto there are tons of other "local" papers - some very big covering the whole city and area, some covering small neighborhoods. It's not that bad, though.

And I think you mean "alluded" to in one of your final paragraphs.

Alex Pullin said...

Ha ha, thanks Chris. I wrote that pretty late and wasn't really in 'the zone' for my proofing.

I particually liked the Toronto Star when I was over there. But I remember there were loads of local newspapers.

Vegetarian girl said...

Alex,
I am doing a two week internship at Lewis starting 2 April so was interested and surprised to read some of your blog posts. It's eye-opening and inspiring to read about your career development. I am in my final year, studying PR too and regularly read PR bloggers. This post got me thinking about the use of the internet, specifically social media and how it works in America. Online is useful as you can target specific publics, but then you must bear in mind that all publics can have access to messages so that creates limitations. I look forward to meeting you Chris and having a chat about your time in America! Thanks, Louise

Lydia said...

I never really thought of it that way, but I suppose the complete attitude to keeping things "out of the paper" is completely different. In other words, it's a country where Max Clifford is benign! This really is the country of dreams! Hehe

Alex said...

Two different worlds? Try universes...for one, PR (at least tech PR) isn't particularly newspaper driven. It's tech, trade, online and biz mag driven. In terms of newspapers, you go for NYT and the WSJ (maybe your local papers too), and then the AP and Reuters to hit syndication nationwide -- the Idaho (no YOU da' ho!) Statesman doesn't exactly have a bustling tech bureau.

Also, I'm shocked at the partiality and politicism that UK journos bring to the equation...out here, the editorializing is mainly kept to columns and op-ed pages! We must seem like overly polite, puritanical throwbacks, eh?

Ren said...

Then there's the TV networks splitting into regional TV stations, and the same with radio too....
My best friend lives in Jax FL and I've visited her a few times. The sheer size of the US in geograph and culture never fails to overwhelm me.

JadeW said...

I never really thought of it all like that, I too don't envy people who work in PR over there, as I think it would be a real mission!!

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