Koos Viviers, formerly the curmudgeonly editor of the Cape Times, in Cape Town, South Africa, sat in his leather lined chair behind his mahogany desk, and glowered at me, the brand new, extremely nervous night editor of ‘his’ treasured morning newspaper.
“Your job is simple,” he said. “You review all the news that comes pouring in from around the world, check what the newsdesk has done locally and decide what is important to the people of Cape Town tomorrow morning – and that and nothing else is what you put in my newspaper day after day.
“It’s as simple as that; now get on with it!” he said, dismissing me with a wave of his hand.
“And”, he shouted as I walked out of his office, “I don’t want any marmalade droppers.”
Koos was referring, of course, to stories so shocking that the marmalade spills off the reader’s breakfast toast as he reads, engrossed in a story set to shock or horrify.
So for over a decade, I rode the wave of news pouring into our lives on the southern tip of Africa; sifting, sorting and selecting the order of importance for our readers.
Being a member of a global network such as the Public Relations Global Network, (PRGN) with close to 50 fiercely independent successful agencies around the globe as members, reminds me of life as a night editor.
Clients of PRGN agencies can, at the drop of e-mail, be in touch, in real time, with the latest successful communications strategies on any issue affecting their product. And they can rely, through their local agency, on the combined experience of agencies around the world to filter the chaff from the wheat to achieve the best results on their behalf.
Thus a client selling pizzas in Cape Town can immediately benefit from the hugely successful campaign mounted by members of the network in Detroit, Cleveland and Phoenix for a global pizza brand. Or a client in Spain or in Dubai in the UAE can benefit from the experience of and lessons learned in London or Washington by local PRGN network member.
With so much information and so many platforms and channels at our digital fingertips 24/7 it is that much easier to devise and implement strategies that guarantee success, not with hindsight, but with the benefit of up-to-date, current thinking – be it in New York, San Francisco, Singapore. Chile or Cape Town – anywhere in fact where there is a member of the PRGN and where success on behalf of our clients is the ultimate goal.
Evelyn John Holtzhausen is president of the Public Relations Global Network.
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