Voyage of Discovery

August 8, 2008 • Public Relations • by

Communication Director 02/2008

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Despite the growing political and economical importance of the European Union, there is still no such thing as a European public. Media and journalism systems across Europe vary greatly, which creates a huge theoretical and practical challenge for public relations professionals. Despite this, many communications directors seem to attempt to conduct business in Europe without having extensive enough knowledge of the differences and similarities between the different countries in which they operate.

These differences and similarities can be analysed in several contexts. The political context in which media systems operate displays a medium level of international synchronicity throughout Europe, whilst there is a far lower level of synchronicity in the legal and social contexts, especially as the EU expands.The way that media organisations are structured displays a higher level of synchronicity, especially when it comes to print media. As regards the journalists themselves, there are great similarities in their demographic data, but not when one analyses their training or their own understanding of their professional role, which differs greatly from country to country.

One model which can be used to group these various similarities and differences was developed by Hallin and Mancini in “Comparing Media Systems”. It groups countries into the “Meditterranean Model”, “Northern European Model” and “North Atlantic or Liberal Model”.

Even a brief examination of the European media landscape shows that it is necessary for PR professionals and communications directors to tailor their approach in order to achieve successful communication, managing the diversity and engaging in dialogue with the various stakeholders involved in the industry.

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