PR Week launches in the US: This week the voice of the UK PR industry adopted an international accent with the launch of a US sister title. Stephanie France investigates its birth

This month witnessed a landmark in the history of PR Week, with the dollars 6 million launch of a US sister title. When PR Week was first published in 1984, such an eventuality seemed unimaginable. But that was before the magazine had grown to become the leading PR title in both the UK and continental Europe. The US launch is the next logical step in its global expansion.

This month witnessed a landmark in the history of PR Week, with the

dollars 6 million launch of a US sister title. When PR Week was first

published in 1984, such an eventuality seemed unimaginable. But that was

before the magazine had grown to become the leading PR title in both the

UK and continental Europe. The US launch is the next logical step in its

global expansion.



The decision to launch the US edition of PR Week on 16 November was

taken by its publisher, Haymarket - Britain’s largest privately owned

magazine company - in what is its first weekly magazine launch in the

US. Haymarket founder and non-executive director Michael Heseltine said

at the announcement of the launch: ’The decision to launch a US magazine

for the PR industry was born out of numerous suggestions received from

leading members of the US industry.’



The US PR market is the largest and most advanced in the world with all

top ten world-wide consultancies based there and deriving the majority

of their income from the home market. It is Haymarket’s belief that the

PR market in the US will continue to expand and grow in influence, an

opinion reinforced by research which shows that 76 per cent of US CEOs

believe public relations is more important to their business than five

years ago. The internet poll, conducted by Impulse Research Group

exclusively for PR Week, also shows that of the 250 US company bosses

interviewed, 76 per cent said they would turn to PR above other

consultants for advice if they had a reputation problem.



PR Week publisher Stephen Farish says there has been a very positive

reaction from the PR industry to the new publication. ’We have had a

very enthusiastic reaction from both agencies and senior in-house PR

people to the idea of launching PR Week in the US,’ says Farish. ’The PR

business in the US is tremendously vibrant, and yet it does not have a

weekly magazine serving that market in the way that PR Week serves the

industry in the UK. Our editorial mission in the States is to help the

business ’put PR on the map’ by championing the cause of PR as an

essential management discipline. This appears to have struck a chord

with the people who work in the business here.’



However, Farish maintains that outside of the industry, PR is not given

the credit it deserves. He is not alone in this surmise. Chairman and

CEO of Young and Rubicam Peter Georgescu is quoted in the first issue of

the magazine as saying : ’PR is one of the most underrated,

under-utilised brand techniques. And the crime is that it’s very

cost-effective.’ It is clear that PR Week has a tough job ahead, but the

current climate - given the results of the Impulse survey - couldn’t be

more favourable.



Farish was one of a small contingent of PR Week stalwarts to cross the

Atlantic in September to set up the US operation. He was joined by PR

Week advertising manager Rupert Heseltine, advertising director Julie

Moore and Adam Leyland, former editor of Press Gazette, and now the

magazine’s editor-in-chief. The new headquarters, on New York’s Fifth

Avenue, is home to 25 staff, including news editor Jonah Bloom, features

editor Susan Fry Bovet and reporters Larry Dobrow, Kelly Holman, Claire

Atkinson and Matthew Boyle.



However, this is only part of the picture. asLeyland explains: ’We have

full-time reporters in San Francisco, Chicago and Washington, together

with stringers in Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia, Minneapolis,

Atlanta, Memphis, Fort Lauderdale and Hawaii, with more to come in

Miami, Detroit and Cincinnati.’



Many of the editorial elements familiar to UK readers have been

transplanted to PR Week US. Each issue carries the latest US and

international news.



There is also a media page, plus the Platform piece, Campaigns, News

Analysis and the Big Question. However, there are some important points

of difference.



A new opinion piece, Inside the Beltway, has been established, written

by PR Week’s Washington correspondent Steve Lilienthal, who looks at

lobbying issues in Washington DC; a ’Letter from Europe’ column written

by PR Week UK editor Kate Nicholas, and two new features - Questions and

Answers and www.Launching.Com - appear on the back page. The former is a

light-hearted look at the ’winning strategies’ of an industry figure,

while the latter turns the spotlight on innovative web site

launches.



The front page of the launch issue features a story about Mike McCurry,

Bill Clinton’s former press secretary and his likely next career

move.



The Media page leads on the LA Times’ decision to implement an austere

job-cutting programme, on the same page, Media Watch analyses news

coverage of Newt Gingrich’s decision to resign from the Republican

Party. The Profile is of Tom Bell, chairman and CEO of Young and Rubicam

Advertising; while the Analysis focuses on the Association of PR Firms’

(APRF) bid to become the voice of all US PR agencies. On the features

side, there is in-depth coverage of the role PR played in the recent US

congressional elections.



Elsewhere in the magazine, internet monitoring is put under the

spotlight, with tips on how to monitor a company’s reputation

on-line.



Given the maturity of the PR market in the US, it is perhaps surprising

that PR Week is the first high-frequency title of its ilk. The size of

the US market is an important factor - while the UK PR industry revolves

around London, across the Atlantic each state city has a highly

developed industry.



Leyland says: ’The PR industry in the US is far bigger than it is in the

UK, yet the only weekly-based offerings are thin newsletters.’ He adds:

’The gap is greater than at any point in the past because companies are

increasingly questioning the value and cost-effectiveness of advertising

at a time when the media is proliferating to the point of

absurdity.’



So how does PR Week intend to fill the void? ’By providing a depth and

breadth of weekly news, analysis, profiles and features that the other

titles simply don’t offer, and by interpreting and analysing the

techniques, tactics and trends that are affecting public relations over

here,’ explains Leyland.



- The launch of PR Week US coincides with the launch of a new

international web site, covering both titles. The web site can be found

at www.prweekuk.com and www.prweekus.com



PR Week has 25 staff based at 220 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10001, USA

Publisher Stephen Farish (1) 212 251 2611

Editor-in-chief Adam Leyland (1) 212 251 2613

News editor Jonah Bloom (1) 212 251 2606

Features editor Susan Fry Bovet (1) 212 251 2612

Reporter Larry Dobrow (1) 212 251 2602

Reporter Kelly Holman (1) 212 251 2603

Reporter Claire Atkinson (1) 212 251 2604

Reporter Matthew Boyle (1) 212 251 2605

San Francisco reporter Susan Arthur 415 824 0663

Washington reporter Steve Lilienthal 202 232 9113

Advertising director Julie Moore (1) 212 251 2385

Ad manager Rupert Heseltine(1) 212 251 2386



James Maxwell



Ketchum



’More global business originates in the US than anywhere else, and it

will be great to be able to track opportunities and trends via PR

Week.



As part of a leading US group, we will enjoy reading of our colleagues’

triumphs, and it will mean we are far better briefed on their market. It

is a bold move by Haymarket, but it will pay off.’



Lesley Brend



The Red Consultancy



’PR Week UK is always hungrily devoured as soon as it arrives in the

office because it satisfies the basic human need to know who’s doing

what with whom. I imagine the US version will be a ’must read’ too but

in a different way - something you take home with you in your briefcase

to study what trends you can apply from the US market.’



Michael Murphy



Shandwick



’My US colleagues are excited about the launch and so are many of us who

work in Europe and Asia-Pacific. Shandwick has a culture which, we

believe, makes us the most global of public relations companies. Our

people operate with a worldwide perspective day-in day-out and adding PR

Week US to our stable of ’must reads’will be essential to ensure that we

keep up with industry and client trends.’



Nick Deluca



APCO



’All the big global agencies have US parentage and the investments,

acquisitions and movements of those firms often shape the face of the

whole industry, throughout the world. We obviously liaise very closely

with our colleagues in Washington, but having a broader view of what is

happening outside the Beltway, in New York, on the other coast and in

the regional capitals will be very useful. More insight into what is

happening with the big US companies, such as the further integration of

public affairs and public relations functions, might reveal trends

coming our way.’



Peter Hehir



Countrywide Porter Novelli



’I have been urging PR Week to go to the States for two years. The

initiative, together with the setting up of a US version of the PRCA,

will have fundamental consequences for the industry there - all for the

good.’



Tari Hibbitt



Edelman PR Worldwide



’Without a doubt, PR Week US will be an essential read for me, just as

its UK counterpart is. It will help me keep even more tabs on what my

friends, competitors and prospects are doing or admitting to thinking,

wherever they are in the world! Hopefully there will be a tad of the

British way of looking at the US PR industry, and just a touch of

irreverence to keep this business in perspective.’



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