PR Updates From Around the World

January 29, 2015

 By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social + Evolving Media , Business Wire

Every day, Business Wire reads and shares a wide range of PR related news.  Starting in 2015, we will also be sharing Public Relations industry news from publications such as PRWeek, The Holmes Report, and Bulldog Reporter’s Daily ‘Dog and others from around the globe.

We hope you enjoy this segment as much as we liked putting it together!  To learn more about each news item, simply click the following hyperlink.

Atlanta

  • Great Wraps announces its partnership with Trevelino/Keller as its public relations agency of choice. Article

Austin

  • Konnect Public Relations started the new year with the opening of a new agency location in Austin, Texas and a completely redesigned website. Article

Boston

  • People Making Good PR announced the addition of two new associates in its Boston, Mass., office: Claire Storrs and Michelle Juralewicz. Article
  • Pierce-Coté Advertising has named Bradford Schiff as the company’s new President. Article

Charlotte

  • French/West/Vaughan has announced the hiring of Abigail Quesinberry as social media strategist. Article

Chicago

  • Airfoil announced that in the fourth quarter of 2014 it closed nearly $1 million in new business. Article
  • Stevens & Tate Marketing has been named the agency of record for Genieco, Inc Article
  • KemperLesnik announced the promotion of Cybil Rose to vice president. Article
  • Franco Public Relations Group is celebrating its 50th anniversary with its biggest growth spurt in a long time. Article

Dallas

  • Matt Burns is returning to UnitedHealthcare as vice president of communications for the company’s $40 billion Medicare business. Article

DC

  • The Association of Public Television Stations has promoted Kate Riley to vice president, government and public affairs. Article
  • Ben Finzel has launched RenewPR, an energy and environmental communications consulting firm. Article
  • The Hill has named Neetzan Zimmerman as senior director of audience and strategy. Article
  • JDA Frontline has hired Kelly Cushman as EVP and Laurie Rossbach as VP. Article
  • Sustainable energy technology company Abengoa has named Ignacio Garcia Alvear as co-CFO. Article
  • Podesta Group has hired Josh Lahey from McBee Strategic.  Article
  • Portland expanded its recently established Washington office; appointing digital diplomacy and strategic communications expert, Scott Nolan Smith, as an Associate Director. Article
  • Clients of kglobal have yet another new creative resource to call upon as public relations and issues management veteran Gene Grabowski joins the team as Partner. Article

Houston

  • Saxum has opened an office in Houston and has hired agency veteran Teresa Henderson to serve as senior vice president of client development. Article

Los Angeles

  • Universal Music Group has named Andy Fixmer as VP of global communications. Article
  • PMK-BNC has promoted Taj Sullivan to SVP of experiential marketing. Article
  • toppragencies.com has named MediaWorks Resource Group as the best celebrity public relations company for December 2014. Article
  • The Pollack PR Marketing Group announced that it has been selected by ESI Ergonomic Solutions (ESI) to lead its integrated public relations and national brand marketing efforts. Article
  • Long Beach City College (LBCC) has named Stacey Toda as its new associate director of public relations and marketing. Article

Miami

  • Inforpress has opened a new office in Quito, Ecuador. The new office is led by Elena Fernández. Article
  • ASGK Public Strategies has opened a South Florida office in Miami. Kelly Penton Chacon will join as a director in the Miami office. Article
  • Hill+Knowlton Strategies has hired Daniel Karam as president and MD of its Mexico office. Article
  • The Miami Dolphins named Jeremy Walls and Jason Jenkins as SVP and CMO and SVP of communications and community affairs, respectively. Article
  • TNT Communications Group has welcomed veteran public relations professional, Geo A. Ropert, APR to its team. Article

Nashville

  • Nashville-based communications firms DVL Public Relations & Advertising and Seigenthaler Public Relations are merging as part an acquisition by Finn Partners. Article

New York

  • Cohn & Wolfe has appointed Jim Joseph as chief integrated marketing officer and president of the Americas. Article
  • Hill+Knowlton Strategies is participating in the Environmental Defense Fund‘s Climate Corps initiative to help control costs and carbon emissions through improved energy management. Article
  • Cablevision Systems Corporation has appointed Cindi Buckwalter as senior vice president, investor relations. Article
  • Yappn Corp. has named Jeanny So as vice president, corporate communication. Article
  • Julie Livingston has launched Livingston PR, which will offer marketing and communications services, as well as assist in business development and strategic partnerships. Article
  • Wakeman Agency is expanding its offerings to include public relations services for social change films. The new initiative, called Films for Change, will create awareness for films that focus on social issues as well as to generate interest in social change efforts. Article
  • Hotwire‘s US managing director Leslie Campisi has parted ways with the firm after three years building the UK-based agency’s presence in the US market. Article
  • After more than 15 years in the senior corporate communications role at Honeywell, Tom Buckmaster is retiring. He will be succeeded by Mike Bennett, currently vice president of marketing communications for the company’s automation and control solutions business. Article
  • Rubenstein Public Relations has been named AOR for Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment‘s production of Rent in Havana, Cuba. Article
  • Business Wire has promoted Kim Deonanan to regional VP for Northern and Central Europe. She joined Business Wire’s London office in 2002. Meghann Johnson was promoted to regional manager. Article
  • Lumentus has hired Christine Bertinelli as a senior partner. Article
  • King + Company announced that in the past six weeks it has been retained by full-service villa rental organization Luxury Retreats and post-hospital rehabilitation and long-term specialty carefirm Alaris Health. Article
  • Access Communications today announced the formation of Access Studio, a content creation and distribution division designed to help companies elevate their most compelling stories, expand their reach and measure their impact. Article
  • Weber Shandwick announced that it has been named global agency of record across multiple marketing services disciplines by Sealed Air Corporation. Article
  • 5W Public Relations announced the addition of Strike Ten Entertainment to its roster of Consumer and Lifestyle brands. Article
  • Voya Financial announced that Paul J. Gennaro has joined the company as senior vice president, Corporate Communications, and chief communications officer. Article

Phoenix

  • Graphic-solution provider ChyronHego has hired Wall Street Communications as its exclusive media relations and content marketing agency. The firm will work to boost ChyronHego’s visibility. Article

Seattle

  • R2C Group announced the launch of a new campaign for ChristianMingle.com, an online community for Christian singles. Article

Hong Kong

  • Singapore-based Rice Communications is opening of Rice Communications Myanmar with anchor clients including Hughes and Bosch.  Article
  • The Hong Kong International Film Festival Society has appointed Strategic Communications Consultants to manage its public relations communications efforts in Hong Kong for a third consecutive year. Article
  • Waggener Edstrom has promoted Henry Wood to head of Studio D, Asia Pacific.Article
  • Racepoint Global has expanded its RPG Studios offer across the Asia region with the addition of three key positions: Noel Wong has been named senior art director, tasked with leading creative integration across the region; Jennifer Russell joins Racepoint’s Hong Kong office as a multimedia specialist, responsible for video content; and Cassie Feng joins Racepoint’s Shanghai office as a multimedia associate and will support creative strategy. Article

Frankfurt

  • The UN organization dedicated to gender equality has called in Havas PR to support the next phase of its #HeForShe campaign, which was launched today by actress Emma Watson in Davos. Article

London

  • Misha Dhanak and Joe Sinclair, who resigned from leadership roles at Citizen Relations UK last year, have started a new agency with the backing of advertising agency Mother. Article
  • Investigative journalist May Linn Gjerding has joined Geelmuyden Kiese as senior analyst to head the firm’s research and analysis group of eight people. Article
  • Hope&Glory has won a new brief for leading community-driven hospitality company Airbnb following a competitive pitch. Article
  • Marston’s Beer Co. has appointed Shine Communications as its new digital agency following a competitive pitch. Article
  • Social insights and analytics business Crimson Hexagon has appointed Lansons to run its UK public relations program following a four way pitch. Article
  • Kaizo has been appointed by NetSuite to provide corporate communications and trade PR in the UK. Article
  • Chameleon has been selected by App Annie to provide communications strategy and public relations support in the UK. Article
  • Senior MD Malcolm Gooderham has departed FTI Consulting, just 12 months after he joined the firm to lead its EMEA thought leadership practice. Article
  • HSBC‘s Pierre Goad has taken on leadership of the bank’s human resources function, in a new role that retains oversight of communications. Article
  • Grayling CEO Pete Pedersen has resigned after two years in the role. Article
  • Ketchum has promoted European digital director Stephen Waddington to the newly-created global role of chief engagement officer. Article

Paris

  • Weber Shandwick has promoted Svetlana Picou to executive vice president, CIS and Central and Eastern Europe. Article
  • Paris-based ALIZE RP announces the launch of its new website: www.alizerp.com. Article
  • The Cline Group International announced the appointment of Ari Applbaum as Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Israel/EMEA. Article

Sydney

  • JSW Cement has awarded its PR and media relations mandate to i9 Communications, which is a part of Comniscient Group (parent to Blue Lotus, Blue Bytes, Trust Research Advisory). Article

Tokyo

  • Ogilvy & Mather Japan has announced major changes to its senior management team with the appointment of Aki Kubo as Chairman and Todd Krugman succeeding him as President. Article

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Business Wire Shares 5 Ways to Work with Reporters to Tell Your Story

January 27, 2015

By Whitney Cowit, Business Wire Chicago

1.  Invite the media into your “inner circle”

Reporters want broader access to both the C-Suite and employees on-the-ground. Invite the media to your facilities and yay-13478388-digitalintroduce them to employees at various levels of your organization. Additionally, connect them with your customers so they can hear another part of your story.

2.  Promote your experts

Conduct regular check-ins with reporters who cover your industry to see the stories and trends they are reporting on and to offer your unique viewpoint. Timeliness is key for most reporters and being proactive can help your team generate traction. This also establishes ongoing relationships that can benefit future coverage of your news.

3.  Build an ongoing corporate narrative with positive news stories

Journalists generally view PR pitches with a critical eye, so gaining interest in positive stories is a tough sell. Your objective should be to build an ongoing cadence of positive news to generate momentum and spike the interest of reporters. For example, sharing unconnected stories about your business will not have the same impact as correlating your CSR efforts to your corporate culture and vision for growth.

4.  Be ahead of the trendsyay-14998652-digital

Journalists are drawn to trend pieces and want to know how organizations provide solutions that address the issues facing their industry. Demonstrating how your products are being used in innovative ways could increase the potential of being part of the story.

5.  Explore new outlets

Create a new audience by with journalists who have never covered your news. Are they writing about your competitors? Can you offer an alternative view on a recently published article? Part of doing your homework on these editors should include commenting on and sharing their work in advance of your pitch. Showing interest in their work may create relationships that can lead to future opportunities.

Business Wire’s dedicated media relations and sales staff are always happy to help with best practices and tips for reaching media.  Got questions? Send them our way! Or click below to read more tips from Business Wire’s editorial team:

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[RECAP] LeWeb 2014: Silicon Valley in Paris

January 23, 2015

By Simona Colletta, Media Relations Specialist – Paris

Launched in 2004 to deepen the connection between big companies, startups, visionaries, and leaders in technology, LeWeb is Europe’s greatest internet conference and, in just ten years, has become a must-attend event worldwide. Business Wire was proud to be the official news distributor of LeWeb 2014 which had 3500 visitors, 300 journalists and 70 bloggers all from 80 different countries attend this year’s conference.

LeWeb 2014

The conference is seen as a passport for corporate success. Every year LeWeb organizes a startup competition, with winners of the past editions having earned between 500.000 and 1 million euros during the year following the event.  This year there was something new about the startup competition: a pre-competition was organized in four European cities (Paris, Barcelona, Berlin and Stockholm) with the winner in each city chosen to participate in the Paris final competition. This year’s winner was Jukedeck, which automatically creates cheap, free-access, unlimited music. Its CEO Ed Rex astonished the audience by rapping his pitch in front of the judging panel.

An apple a day… does it keep the e-doctor away?

This edition of LeWeb was dedicated to the theme of Digital Health. Fred Wilson, a famous American investor (Twitter, Soundcloud, Foursquare, etc.), predicted that in 2015, successful and innovating companies will appear in the health sector. The potential impact of digital help could revolutionize the industry for medical staff and patients alike; therefore investments in this sector keep growing exponentially. As LeWeb conference called it – Digital Health would be “the reinvention of Healthcare.”

Doctor Daniel Kraft, a Harvard-trained physician-scientist, inventor, entrepreneur and innovator (with over 20 years of experience in clinical practice, biomedical research and healthcare innovation), delivered one of the most significant speeches of this year’s conference.  Doctor Kraft gave an interesting perspective of tomorrow’s patient, who he says will be equipped with sensors in order to follow and measure his/her health day by day. He said, “With connected health, you will become your own health’s boss”.  Kraft believes the individual will be more responsible and autonomous, and he/she will share information with his/her doctor, just as he/she now shares pictures or music on social networks. Business actors such as Apple, outside of this sector until now, will start to conquer the territory with, for example, the Healthkit, now available on iPhones.

Nicolas Huchet

Nicolas Huchet and BionicoHand

While there were many attention-grabbing speeches and products and projects, one stood out in particular. Bionicohand is a French project that aims to make accessible “the construction of a prosthetic upper limb at a low cost, due to standardized parts and open sources, easy to repair and therefore accessible to people with limited financial resources. This project wants to open new opportunities for emerging countries that do not have access to such equipment.”

Bionico’s CEO, Nicolas Huchet, presented the project. Nicolas’s arm was amputated when he was 18 and he was equipped with a myoelectric prosthesis, which allowed him to open and close a pincer. This was a good first step toward autonomy, but today there are many high-tech solutions that allow for the opportunity to better simulate human hands in motion. The problem is that high-tech prostheses can cost up to €65.000 and they are not covered by French social security. So Nicolas decided to build his own prosthesis using 3D printing technology (with the help of a local Fablab). That is how Bionicohand was born in 2013. Its mission is to give the same opportunity to others, who can download the plans for free.

Stay connected

LeWeb is a great occasion for co-working and networking. It gives companies the opportunity to be known in this “cruel” technology world and, at the same time, gives the private individual the opportunity to learn about technology and tech trends, even if they are a new to the techspace.

With all of this amazing information being shared at LeWeb, Isn’t it a good reason for visiting Paris next winter?

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How do Millennials Consume News (and Why You Need to Care)

January 13, 2015

By Molly Pappas, Media Relations, Business Wire

Millennials-Heart-UGC-InfographicMillennials (ages 18 – 34) comprise the largest demographic in the United States. So, it comes as no surprise that this generation also spends most of their days (18 hours each day!) consuming media and provides the loudest voices to be heard within social media platforms, according to recent research by social-influence marketing platform, Crowdtap.

A whopping seventy-one percent of Crowdtap survey participants listed social media as a top priority in their lives, engaging in it daily.

What’s more, 60 percent of these same Millennials depend on social media to keep up-to-date on current global and local news.  But what publications do they read?  This  audience prefers to consume news and world affairs content created by those they perceive to be their peers – flocking to platforms such as BuzzFeed and Huffington Post instead of traditional news outlets such as The New York Times.

The information gathered from user-generated content sites and sources is trusted 40 percent more than information gathered from other types of sources.

The remaining 33 percent of Millennials still cite more traditional media sources – print, radio and television – as a way they consume media. However, studies show that user-generated content shape this generation’s lives much more than any other form of media, and they remain the only generation where digital media exceeds traditional.

Millennials spend the majority of their weekly media time using digital devices (especially smartphones), and 43 percent access the internet via their phones more than through their computer. Three out of four Millennials own a smart phone and use social media as a source for current affairs, apart from networking. They tend to rely heavily on HuffPost, Yahoo-ABC, CNN and BuzzFeed (all media that Business Wire reaches on a daily basis!)

So why should you care? Well, according to research by InkHouse and GMI, while the press release is the most trusted source of company-driven news, nearly half of Americans simply don’t trust any source of company-produced news. So while releases are still a very important PR tool, it appears that you can expect better bang for your buck by getting media to directly cover the story.

inkhouse_ig_press_release_sectionAccording to the same survey, TV and online news should be your top targets for earned media placement. Traditional media placement still carries the most weight in terms of reach and influence, but studies suggest an integrated media program (online news, broadcast and social media) is the best way to go.

And yes, Millennials are social-media obsessed, but they are realistically aware how much information can be modified and edited, and are thus returning to trusted newspapers and sources of news for information.

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The No. 1 PR Resolution for 2015: Measuring Your Results

January 2, 2015

By Meghann Johnson, Regional Manager, Business Wire Chicago

As 2014 winds down, the question on top of everyone’s mind is “what can I do differently in 2015?” From tackling new projects to finishing the old, New Year’s resolutions allow us to refocus, reset and rethink our approach, hopefully inspiring some positive change along the way.

rulerSo, as PR professionals, what should be our biggest resolution in 2015? Very simply: make measurement the No. 1 priority! Below Business Wire outlines six measurement resolutions that EVERY communicator should adopt, and stick to, throughout the new year.

Set objectives…and be OK with missing them: The idea of setting specific, measurable objectives can strike fear in the hearts of even the most seasoned PR professionals. As communicators, our programs can often be difficult to track, especially when considering the dramatic impact that WOM (word of mouth), social media and digital has had on our industry. But without setting benchmarks and working toward them, PR practitioners can be left with only a handful of data points, or worse yet, find themselves scrambling at year-end to account for their progress. Even by falling short of your intended objectives, continuously measuring throughout the year will provide chances to adjust your programs and offer insightful ways to improve in the following year.

Break down the silos: Savvy PR professionals tie their communication program metrics to their company’s own key performance indicators (KPIs). This approach is important as it aligns PR with developing direct, benchmarked results for the company. For example, if your organization is running a corporate initiative that’s intended to: 1) drive sales 2) raise brand awareness 3) position corporate spokespeople, it’s best to understand what your organization’s objectives are first and then showcase how PR drives towards them. One way to align with corporate KPIs is to compile the anticipated takeaways from a PR announcement and then rate each article/placement on a scale (1, 2, 3) of how well the piece reflected these three key takeaways. Note: This type of system works best when initiated across all PR efforts for consistency.

under-the-influence-consumer-trust-in-advertisingThink beyond the “pickup”: There’s no denying that editorial coverage is a highly sought after component of every PR program. But, with 84% of audiences making decisions based on WOM, building brand awareness and activating the right audiences can be just as beneficial as landing that coveted Wall Street Journal placement. Additionally, audiences are seeking content in new places, whether that be a company’s own social channels or website; therefore, it’s important to connect with your web teams or online community managers before, during and after an announcement or campaign launch in order to measure how traffic and views have been influenced by your efforts.

Be the journalists’ publicist: When thinking about your PR efforts, remember, media measure too! Journalists are rated on the number of views to their article and time on site, so if your organization gets covered, be sure to promote the news…and then promote it again. Ultimately, the more traffic your team can generate by sharing the piece, the more likely a journalist is to write on you again. Think of it as recycling content and reusing it to your benefit.

Reporter Metrics

 

Let data be your guide: At the recent PR News Measurement Conference in November, David Rockland, Managing Director of Global Research at Ketchum, said about PR, “We are a data rich industry, but analytics poor.”

While there are countless ways to measure PR functions, the hardest part is to contextualize the metrics to make them make sense. One question we often receive at Business Wire pertains to our own NewsTrak reports. For example, what is the significance of press release views or link clicks? Truly, this metric can vary in significance depending on the goal of your program. Did you issue a release to garner media coverage? If so, how many journalists covered it? Or, were you trying to gain visibility and followers to your twitter feed by adding a hyperlink in your release? If yes, check how many people clicked on that link (provided within Business Wire’s report) to see if there is a correlation to the release and an uptick in followers. These seemingly arbitrary numbers can offer far greater insight if there are clear objectives established beforehand or if the PR team is gathering information across various channels.

Use the right tools: There are countless free and paid tools available to help with any measurement program so be sure to use them! Google Analytics is a great place to start. More and more companies use this platform the measure their efforts across Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned (PESO) channels. One simple way to effectively measure press release impact is to add a Google URL tracker to any hyperlinks within the text, which will subsequently track every time someone clicks on the link. Similarly, your team can monitor which information/link generated the most click-thrus and then promote that same info across other channels.

What’s your number one PR resolution in 2015? Share it via the BusinessWired blog or tweet us directly @BusinessWire. And as always, you can contact us directly to learn more about any of these topics.


Business Wire in 2015: A look ahead with Cathy Baron Tamraz, CEO and Gregg Castano, President

December 29, 2014

Year-end is a time for both reflection and anticipation. In looking back at 2014, Business Wire is particularly proud of leading industry innovations in three important areas: security, multimedia, and measurement. These major advances reinforce Business Wire’s core value proposition, while creating the potential of even greater return on investment for you.

Business Wire Capsule

Our primary focus is developing products and services that are responsive to your needs while delivering exceptional value and results. And while our vision remains fresh and forward-thinking, we have purposely retained our emphasis on the foundations of our success: client service, newsroom accuracy, and network security.

A key milestone for Business Wire in 2014 was our receipt of the Service Organization Control [SOC] 2 Type II attestation engagement report, which provided independent validation that our internal security controls are in accordance with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ applicable Trust Services Principles and Criteria. The report clearly illustrates that security is of paramount concern at Business Wire; it provides assurance that we have the appropriate protocols in place to safeguard sensitive corporate announcements.

Additionally, Business Wire broke new ground by launching News and Picture Capsules. These dynamic content marketing platforms deliver multimedia campaigns that are fully compatible with all media channels and delivery devices.  The capsules provide simple embed links that enable users to integrate multimedia features into their own websites, blogs and social channels, and are accompanied by real-time dashboards providing comprehensive metrics.

Business Wire also expanded NewsTrak analytics by integrating NUVI social reporting into our monitoring solution. The report gauges a release’s impact by analyzing social mentions and translating them into graphically rich summaries that demonstrate engagement, sentiment, and influencer identification. Clients are able to pinpoint which messages are resonating online, identify the key drivers of the conversation, and respond accordingly.

While multimedia and measurement were the twin drivers of our recent product development, we maintained our traditional thought-leadership role through client-focused publications, industry surveys, and webinars. Timely themes included press release optimization, social media and publicly traded companies, multicultural marketing, and a media survey on the content needs of today’s changing newsroom. Look for more of these engaging content programs in the year ahead.

These exciting initiatives set the stage for what will prove to be a richly rewarding new year, filled with opportunities for personal and professional growth. Business Wire hopes to contribute to your success by providing the tools and turnkey solutions necessary for today’s complex communications challenges.

As always, we sincerely thank you for your business and, most importantly, for your continued trust and confidence.  We look forward to 2015 with great anticipation, hoping that it will be a year of peace, health, and prosperity for all.


Macedonia Media and Press Freedom: Q&A with Dragan Sekulovski

December 22, 2014

By Kai Prager, Senior Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire

If you visit Skopje, Macedonia today, you will be surprised. The central spots in Macedonia’s capital are crawling with enormous fountains, museums and bridges laced with statues over the Vardar River (which divides the city in two parts). Wondering when they might have been built, I learned that they were all quite new, produced within the last 10 years. The construction of these monuments is part of the project Skopje 2014 — the idea being to enhance a city that was severely damaged by an earthquake in 1963. However, the project is controversial, not only due to its high costs, but also because it is viewed as nationalistic historicist kitsch by many Macedonians.

Macedonian media can also be viewed as new and somewhat controversial.  Most publications were first published after the declaration of independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Under the promise of a free press, newspapers and magazines were printed and new broadcasters took to the air. But today, there is not much left of that free press. In 2009, Macedonia was ranked 34th on Press Freedom Index (by Reporters Without Borders). Five years later, it has dropped down to number 123.

A Man, Staning On A Bridge, Thinking About His Ex

(Skopje, Macedonia – Photo by Kai Prager)

When I visited the South East European Media Forum in Skopje this year, I had the chance to speak with Dragan Sekulovski, who works as Executive Director at the Association Of Journalists Of Macedonia.  He kindly agreed to answer some of the questions I had about the media in his country and about the aforementioned drop on the Press Freedom Index.

What caused Macedonia’s fall on the Press Freedom Index?

Unfortunately, Macedonia is setting new records with a drop down of 89 places in less than 5 years on the Reporters Without Border’s Press Freedom Index. The main difference in the media back in 2009 and now is the level of criticism of the journalists and the media. Nowadays there is almost no critique in the mainstream media towards the ruling parties and the governmental reforms. In a society where the politicians are not able to stand a critique and where critical media are shut down, journalists are imprisoned for writing a text. The government is the biggest advertiser in the private media and journalists are sued by officials … we cannot expect, with all this, for Macedonia to have a better place on the Press Freedom Index.

Dragan Sekulovski big(Dragan Sekulovski)

 The media market in Macedonia is small. Does this also have an effect on the media landscape?

Macedonia has almost 200 media outlets and they all compete in a small, distorted market and cover about 2 million citizens. They cannot survive financially unless they align their interests with the governing parties and politically connected large businesses. Apart from the public broadcaster (MTV), the vast majority of the country’s press is in private hands. However, the government comes out on top among the 50 largest advertisers in the country. In 2012 and in 2013, the government was in first place with twice as many campaigns in the private media than the larger local mobile operator T-Mobile. You cannot expect to have a free media market when there is so much influence by the government.

Other countries in the region (Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, etc.) have a small media market as well. Do you think they have similar problems?

I would not say that the problems are similar since the pressure points that are creating chilling effects and self-censorship in Macedonia are far more drastic than in neighboring countries. Two recent cases illustrate this negative trend:  the first one is the case of Kezarovski, a journalist who in 2008 wrote a text and published in local small print media. In 2013, he was arrested and convicted for alleged reveling identity of a secret witness, and at the moment, he is more than 18 months detained waiting for the final word of the Appeal Court in Skopje. The second case, as of this autumn, is about a court verdict for defamation where the plaintiff is the Director of the Secret Service and the defendants are [the] editor and journalists from the local printed weekly Fokus. The court here judged a compensation of non-pecuniary damage in amount of 9000 EUR, including court expenses, for the editor and the journalists of Fokus to pay. These negative examples that influence the freedom of expression and independence of media are unique for this part of the world.

How does the move to digital media (internet, mobile devices, social media, etc.) change the media landscape?

Following the global trend, the online media in Macedonia are becoming more influential and are being followed by large percentage of the audience. Based on the assessments of the regulator, 44% of the audience is being informed on a daily basis from web portals. These media can offer some criticism, media pluralism is generally present, and some investigative journalistic stories can be found.

What sources do Macedonian journalists usually use to access information?

Mainly from press conferences and releases from the state media agencies. Interesting to note is that journalistic questions are rarely present during a press conference. Some journalists are using the Law on Access to Information of Public Character, but the information is not always satisfactorily received or delivered in the desirable time frame.

Which information or topics are the most popular in the media?

News and propaganda that promote governmental policy and reforms; chronicles; news about celebrities; critiques of opposition political parties and civil society organizations/individuals; and global news. Very rarely we can see in the mainstream media TV debates from guests which are having different opinion[s] of governmental policy.


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