China and the Far East may be emerging as an economic rival, but when it comes to international influence, the US is still number one. As such, major media outlets around the globe continue to send reporters to America to cover the country and its culture.
But Armando Azarloza, president of the Axis Agency, Weber Shandwick's multicultural marketing partner, says the interests of these journalists are slowly changing. "It's no longer just the traditional American," he says. "A lot of media in places like Mexico, for instance, have a real desire to understand primarily the US Hispanics."
Azarloza points out that Latin American companies are increasingly launching products and services for the US' Spanish-speaking market, adding, "Evaluating the success of those efforts is an ongoing business story that US-based reporters can send back to the media outlets in Latin America."
Rosio Corza, media director for Durazo Communications, points out that there's still a huge fascination with many things American, especially youth culture. "It's not just nearby countries like Mexico," she says. "Places like Argentina and Chile are always on the lookout for the latest American music, movies, and celebrities."
While US media companies have been scaling back their foreign bureaus, Stephen Graham, head of International Media Consultants, says that, for the most part, most major international media outlets continue to maintain a solid presence in the US.
"There may have been a few foreign reporters who came here to cover the tech boom who are no longer in the Bay Area," he says. "But the foreign press in places like New York, DC, and Los Angeles remains healthy"
But Graham notes many US-based PR firms make the mistake of not looking at these US-based foreign correspondents as potential media targets. "It's not just a cost-effective way of giving your client some international exposure, it's also the best way," he says. "You have to realize that these reporters have been sent here at great expense, in some cases, specifically to cover American business. So they end up serving as the gatekeeper. If you can develop a relationship with them, you'll have a better chance of getting your client covered in these foreign markets."
"These borders that we have don't really apply in the Information Age," concludes Azarloza. "There's a lot of information going back and forth, which creates a lot of different ways to reach these international markets."
PITCHING... US-based intl. media
A role as US correspondent is a plum assignment and is generally given only to fast-rising journalistic stars, so don't treat them as an afterthought
Most foreign journalists in the US are multilingual, so there's often no need to localize pitches and press materials in their native languages
Wire services such as the Spanish-language EFE News are a great way to expose your client to a number of different international markets