Jul 12, 2012

World Media Summit: Global Journalism, Common Challenges

At dinner at the Metropol. From left to right: Mujtabva Ayan, Senior Program Manager for Internews, Afghanistan (Kabul). Me (Colleen Pizarev, PR Newswire.) Kjell Dragnes, Foreign Editor of Actenposten, Norway. Markus Weidling, Head of International Services at DAPD news agency.

The first day of the World Media Summit was devoted to a city tour of Moscow, giving the delegates time to meet each other and discuss issues that are of particular interest to them.  Seeing the sights of Moscow was an interesting experience, but even more interesting was talking to the journalists on the tour.

Old and new. St. Basils Cathedral, amidst modern Moscow.

Having been on this journalist world stage for the past 15 years, I was not surprised at how well PR Newswire was regarded by the global media.  We play on an equal footing with many of the local news agencies, but I was a bit surprised at just how widely we are used as a trusted source of information.   I almost never had to explain what we do, or who we are.  The most common comment I received when handing out my business cards was how much the particular journalist liked our PR Newswire for Journalists site.  This is a testament to the effectiveness of our global Media Relations teams, who are the face of PR Newswire to the media in their regions.

Colleen’s Facebook updates from the Summit were addictive.

Attending the conference were the Managing Directors and Chief Editors of several of PR Newswire’s exclusive partners – Kyodo News Agency, Yonhap News Agency, APA (Austria), DPA (Germany), Middle East News Agency (MENA), ANTARA (Indonesia) and of course ITAR-TASS, our hosts.  It was nice to be able to see some old friends, and strengthen ties.

It was also nice to make so many new contacts with important publications around the world.  From the CEO and Publisher of Algeria’s most widely read independent newspaper El Khabar, I learned about how they continue to fight to maintain journalistic freedom in their country.  From Internews, the largest radio station in Afghanistan, I learned how they use radio to reach those citizens in remote areas, and to get news to those who have a low literacy level.  Keeping their journalists safe is another daily concern, and made for some interesting discussions.

I also spent some quality time with the Publisher of the Cameroon Tribune, and learned a lot about how news is researched and consumed in her country.   I also enjoyed conversations with senior journalists in Togo, Mauritius, Serbia, Croatia, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Norway, Finland, Cuba, Argentina, Cambodia, and Libya.  We discussed the struggles they have to maintain quality journalism in the face of shrinking revenue and budgets.

Even the newly formed, but not yet recognized republic of Transnistria sent two representatives to this conference.  They were quite popular – most people wanted to meet representatives of a country they didn’t know existed until that morning – myself included. They were kind enough to share some of the challenges they face as journalists in their breakaway Eastern European republic.

One of the most valuable discussions I had was a lunch with Peter Horrocks, the Director of Global News from BBC Worldwide.  We discussed the Internet and Social Media and how it’s affecting journalism today.  I didn’t realize that was the topic of his plenary session presentation a few days later, but his insight was both interesting and valuable.

My knowledge of communications in many countries has not only been updated, but in many cases completely changed.  If you have any questions regarding media or communications practices in pretty much any country in the world, I would be happy to oblige with a discussion.  Contact your account manager at PR Newswire to arrange an appointment.  I’m very happy to share the knowledge I’ve gained from this experience.

Author Colleen Pizarev has vast experience in global public relations, and is PR Newswire’s vice president of communication strategies.

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