NEW YORK: As part of its ongoing strategy to improve America's image abroad, Business for Diplomatic Action (BDA) has released its Foreign Media Relations Guide to help US companies effectively interact with foreign journalists.
"Obviously, the foreign media is very important as far as presentation of America overseas," said Michael Morley, chairman of Echo Research, senior counsel at Edelman, and board member of BDA, who led the effort. "The whole matter of America's reputation in foreign markets is such a massive undertaking."
The guide is the result of interviews with approximately 100 journalists in about 20 countries. Much of the detailed research, including journalist roundtables, was conducted in Germany, because it is the leading economic market in Europe and a good indicator of global attitudes, Morley said.
A major complaint about US companies by foreign journalists was about the lack of access.
"If companies think about it and make the time... I think the picture could change tremendously," he added. "With active communication, opinions can be helped and minds can be changed to see a different perspective of America."
Research also showed the importance of visiting the US for foreign journalists.
"The favorability of people who've actually been to America and experienced it is much higher than those who have made impressions through the media," Morley said. This means that for US businesses, inviting foreign reporters on familiarization trips and giving access to senior management could be very beneficial.
Officially founded in 2004, BDA is a task force that includes communications, marketing, political science, global development, and media pros. The guide is available at www.businessfordiplomaticaction.org.