As we move towards the London 2012 Olympics, there is no doubt that the world’s media is turning the spotlight onto the UK. Following fast in the wake of the Jubilee flotilla (excuse the pun), London 2012 is currently high on the Australian news agenda.
Having returned to Australia earlier this year after two years working in Old Blighty, the Australian coverage of British based news has recently brought home to me the differences and similarities between the media within the two markets.
I recently visited Wagga Wagga for a client. Sitting in my hotel room I watched as the local TV news reported on the Queen’s Jubilee in London. After the mandatory images of the London jubilee celebrations and the “stoic” Brits celebrating in the clichéd rain, the news turned to focusing on a local Wagga Country Women’s Association member, who had hosted a high tea in the Queen’s honour. Other news included the Australian Life Savers who participated in the Thames spectacle, ready to save anyone who might be unfortunate enough to fall in. It was London news, but it was still very Australian.
For me, this epitomises the distinct Australian flavour of journalism:
- We love an underdog – While the Brits love their royals, Australian news outlets like a “true blue” Aussie doing something good in their local community.
- Everyday heroes – while the London press featured the officials involved in the day and the celebrating public, we loved our local lifeguards lending a hand.
- Proverbial style – Australian journalists are often very colloquial and pride themselves on talking in our language. Simple and straight forward, there is no royal fanfare here.
- Focus on the local – Even when focusing on international news, we still find a way to make it about us and what’s going on in our backyard.
For many Australian PR professionals, spending time working overseas in the UK is almost a rite of passage. Judging from the number of outstanding British expats working at n2n, Australia also attracts a number of our high quality British professionals. While there might be differences in the media approaches in each market, the key to good media relations seems to remain the same– know your media and understand what stories are going to float their boat.