Media Analysis: Welsh media and how to woo them

Targeting the Welsh media requires an awareness of regionality. Robyn Lewis explains how PROs can best reach outlets that have a strong sense of national pride.

Threats of job cuts at ITV Wales and several Welsh news­papers have put the country's media firmly on their own news agenda.

Welsh culture minister Alun Pugh even went as far as claiming to the Welsh Assembly last month that the popularity of English media in Wales posed a ‘serious threat' to democracy.

Pugh said: ‘In contrast to Scotland, where most readers choose either a Scottish title or a Scottish version of a UK title, most Welsh readers choose a London-based title for their daily morning read.'

Some dismiss Pugh's claims as sensationalism but others admit he may  have a point. ‘I think it's fair to say the most popular daily newspapers in Wales would be the UK tabloids,' says Matt Appleby, director of Golly Slater in Cardiff. ‘But those papers are supplemented with local papers and broadcast media, all of which remain very popular.'

The country's two national papers are the Western Mail, which some would argue has a slight southern bias, and The Daily Post, which is seen to have a northern slant. Both are daily ­titles, with circulations of 42,578 and 40,000 respectively. Other popular reads include Wales's version of the Daily Mirror.

‘The market for The Daily Post is huge: more people in Wales read us than they do the Daily Mail or The Sun,' claims the newspaper's deputy editor, Gregg Fray, who dismisses Pugh's claim

He adds: ‘There's a strong desire for local news as people have a strong sense of place in Wales. Of course they might also read national ­titles, but they'll turn first to their local media to find out about things that ­affect them directly.'

‘People don't do their research'
This sense of regionality, as well as national pride, is noticeable throughout Wales's media industry.

The Western Mail and the South Wales Echo, an evening daily, are both based in Cardiff, while several radio stations also broadcast from the city, including Red Dragon FM, BBC ­Cymru and Real Radio.

Cardiff is also home to a number of ­national TV broadcasters, including BBC Wales, ITV1 Wales and Welsh-language channel S4C.

Outside Cardiff, the media spread is thinner. The Daily Post, for example, which covers the majority of Wales, is based in Llandudno (North Wales); the South Wales Evening Post is located in Swansea; and two of the country's Welsh-language titles, Y Cymro and Golwg, are located in Flint (North Wales) and Ceredigion (West Wales) respectively.

This geography is important but is often overlooked by PROs based in England who tend to think of Wales as a singular region - so lament journalists working on Welsh titles.

‘We are always getting press releases through for events happening in, say, Bangor, which is further away from me than London,' says Gerry Keighley, editor of the South Wales Argus, from his office in Newport.

He adds: ‘PROs don't do their research and tend to think that if something is happening anywhere in Wales then it's on your patch, which wastes everyone's time.'

Advance research is crucial because Welsh publications' areas of interest can be surprising. Y Cymro for example, despite being a Welsh title based in the North, is also interested in matters ­outside of Wales.

‘We are located on the border, and a high proportion of people living here are English,' explains Y Cymro reporter Robin Henry. ‘We often get targeted with the same press releases as titles in South Wales, and PROs would be better sending us information aimed at bits of the North-West of England. But ultimately we have to be able to give stories a Flintshire flavour in order to cover them.' Wales has also witnessed the recent emergence of a plethora of ­lifestyle titles, such as Red Handed - which is targeted at young men living in and around ­Cardiff - and the self-­explanatory Swansea Life.

There has been a concurrent increase in the number of business titles, especially in South Wales. Insider and Enterprise magazine both launched in 2005, while Swansea Business is set to launch early next year.

Jo Barnes, magazines editor at Newsquest Wales and Gloucester, says: ‘I would say that in the Cardiff and Newport areas alone the number of business ­titles has doubled over the past two years.'

Funding from Europe
Barnes suggests that one of the ­reasons for this media growth is the increase in European Union funding for regeneration projects in the country. She says: ‘There's money around and businesses are developing quickly - so there's a hunger for information.'

And PROs based in Wales are ­optimistic about the future. Alex ­Sheehan, head of PR at Swansea-based agency MGB PR, says: ‘I think the ­media scene here has seen an acceleration in terms of development over the past few years, perhaps reflecting a ­maturing industry.'

But for a nation that has fought to maintain its native tongue and a strong sense of national pride, it is perhaps no wonder that regional media remain so important.

Recognising the diversity and the geographic spread of the country - and not lumping it together as a single region with a united agenda - is the best advice for PR professionals outside of Wales looking for a way in.

WELSH MEDIA: contact details

Daily Post
T 01492 574444
South Wales Argus
T 01633 810000
South Wales Echo
T 029 20 583583
South Wales Evening Post 
T 01792 514604
Western Mail
T 029 20 223333
Wales on Sunday
T 029 20 223333

BBC Radio Wales
T 029 20 32 2000
BBC Radio Cymru
T 029 20 32 2000
Red Dragon FM
T 0870 429 1032
Real Radio
T 0845 105 2 106
BBC Wales
T 029 20 32 2000
ITV Wales
T 029 20 590590

Welsh-language press
Y Cymro
T 01352 707 751
T 01570 423529

Business in Wales
T 029 20 583583
T 029 20 647517
Chamber Chat
T 01633 222664
The Business
T 01633 810000

WM Magazine
T 029 20 583583
Ladies First
T 029 20 39 6600

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