Global Public Affairs, PR Executives Arriving in DC, This One’s for You

International communicators face a daunting task when they arrive for a posting in Washington, D.C. Until now, answering their questions about navigating new surroundings was often challenging.

How to learn about the unique characteristics of the American media? How to get in touch with reporters who cover their issues? Who to turn to for help in acclimating themselves to a totally new environment?

I’ve tried my best to provide press attachés, public affairs experts, and communications officers from abroad with some answers through my brand new position paper, “The Global Communicator’s Welcome to Washington Guide.”

The guide is intenA CBP officer checks a passenger's document after arriving at Washington-Dulles International Airport.ded for those communicators who arrive in Washington, often with little help.

I could hear the frustration in the voices of the global communicators I met who are posted to Washington. They land at Dulles airport with little if any support system. In fact, their predecessors—along with their lists of contacts and helpful hints—may have already departed.

There is a dire need for an orientation process. My humble hope is that “The Global Communicator’s Welcome to Washington Guide” will provide some assistance and comfort to colleagues arriving to a new life inside the Beltway.

To further aid their inside-the-Beltway transition, I’m also announcing a companion program called “The Global Communicators Welcome to Washington Seminar,” designed to help international communicators navigate their new hometown.

Both the new guide and seminar offer advice on how to:

  • Contact key reporters
  • Build a community of fellow communicators who can help with the transition process
  • Strike up conversations when meeting Americans
  • Identify organizations capable of aiding in the adjustment.

I readily admit that the publication isn’t a perfect source of knowledge. During interview after interview with non-U.S. communicators posted to DC, there was agreement that few reliable resources exist to help them adjust to life and work in America’s capital city. While there may be a handful of organizations and publications that can help in certain areas, a one-stop source of information appears to be lacking.

This is where you come in. In order to help fill that void, I encourage you to contribute your ideas, too. This resource is intended to be a living document, one that you can help to improve. The content will gain value over time if readers like you contribute your suggestions for publication in subsequent editions.

“The Global Communicator’s Welcome to Washington Guide” is available on the Research page at www.barkscomm.com at no cost.

I’ll be running excerpts over the next few weeks here on The Media Training Blog, so stay tuned for more detail.

In the meantime, here’s your homework: What are your top three ideas for helping the adjustment process? What publications and web sites do you read to better understand the U.S. media and culture?

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