A paper with the world in its hands

A quick glance at the International Herald Tribune's (IHT) website reveals news stories on topics as diverse as a Ukrainian oligarch's philanthropy, aid in Afghanistan and the Beijing Olympics.

These sit alongside business stories that hit closer to home: a piece on the UK housing bust and an analysis of the Royal Bank of Scotland's write-down.

Thanks to its Paris base and editorial bureaux all over the world, plus a link-up with Reuters, the IHT manages to cover stories relevant to every global market - crucial in times of recession, according to PROs.

'The credit crunch is making it even more important that clients get messages through to global markets, and IHT is a strong route for doing that,' says Mark Hanson, a partner at Staniforth PR. 'In the corporate sector, you would say the IHT was part of the "big three" alongside the Financial Times and Wall Street Journal in key markets like London and New York.'

Ketchum's London chief David Gallagher agrees, but sees the paper's high calibre readership - not just its scope - as the key to its strong reputation. The newspaper can be bought at newsstands from Vancouver to Zagreb - perfect for jet-setting Fortune 500 CEOs constantly shuttling between time zones. 'It is the American expat paper of choice if you have business interests related to Wall Street, Washington or Hollywood,' says Gallagher. 'I get the IHT at home, as does every other American I know in London, Paris or Hong Kong.'

For agencies with global remits, the IHT is a worthy target. 'Many of our accounts are international, so the IHT's global readership makes it a target for European businesses wanting to reach a broader audience,' says Hotwire PR director Alex MacLaverty.

As the global business fraternity increasingly looks east for expansion, so does the IHT. Incoming editor William Schmidt plans to expand the newspaper's operations in the Middle East and Asia. 'The ambition is to do what we can to produce as authoritative and comprehensive a global report on our platforms,' he says.

For PROs aiming to reach business decision-makers on the web, look no further: the IHT hopes to merge its website with that of sister title The New York Times, whose web version is already required reading worldwide.

'Integration will allow us to draw on an even larger staff to cover breaking events, and enable reporters to invest more time and effort,' says Schmidt.

He warns that PROs should consider their approach carefully; with such a large, international editorial team, it is crucial to target the right desk. 'Get to know the paper and its various parts,' says Schmidt. 'What I am talking about here is simply sound PR practice.'

QUICK FACTS
Frequency: Six days a week
Editions: Two - Atlantic and Asia
Contacts: Editor William Schmidt
wschmidt@iht.com

A MINUTE WITH ... WILLIAM SCHMIDT, EDITOR, GLOBAL EDITIONS

- How does the IHT manage to stay relevant to such a varied readership?

The IHT is relevant to a world that is very confusing. Our mandate is quite simple: to provide quality news and analysis so that our readers are better equipped to make sense of what is happening globally. Our ongoing efforts to integrate the news gathering of the IHT with The New York Times - particularly its foreign and business staff - will make our reporting richer and more complete.

- Is your team open to PR pitches?

Of course we are, and we rely on PROs to keep us alert to new ideas and trends. In order to ensure this process works effectively, we ask that companies keep our international audience in mind and be as focused as possible.

- Do you have any plans for the year ahead?

I do not formally pick up the reins until the end of the year, but there are already some plans in the works. We are looking, for example, at merging the IHT website with The New York Times, to expand our global internet presence.

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