Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Communication Across the Globe

By Molly Griffin

Being a citizen of the United States born in the 1990’s, I have never really questioned my right to freedom of speech. My entire life I have felt proud to have this privilege and rarely considered what life would be like without it. Although I have always been aware of the varying freedoms among the countries of the world, I have never truly recognized the value and the importance of this right until several of the lectures on this trip. In addition to the importance of freedom of speech, I have also discovered how it affects the style of communication that is used.  While I have grown to appreciate my right to freedom of speech, I have also learned to value the control the government has over monitoring the media. Finally, the true root of communication is language. If I had to name one thing I definitely learned from this trip, it was the stress on the importance of language.

One of our first lectures in Paris was at the École de Journalisme de Sciences Po. École de Journalisme de Sciences Po has the same reputation the Mizzou J-School has but in the Political Science field. Peter Gumbel, the director of communications, met us for a very interesting lecture/discussion. The lecture focused on French vs. American journalism, and a majority of it was centered on freedom of speech.  What should the press be able to report? 

According to Gumbel’s lecture, the French rights allows for freedom of speech, except when the government deems it harmful. Whether or not speech is deemed harmful is mainly focused on whether or not it is seen as an invasion of privacy or will negatively affect an individual’s private reputation. For example, it is a criminal offense for a media outlet to show a person who is arrested in handcuffs. Gumbel also explained for example that private life scandals of politicians couldn’t be exposed to the public; it’s an invasion of that individual’s privacy.  Hands shot up around the room as all of us were thinking the same thing.

“How can it be alright for the people not to know that the person they might be voting for has a cheating, sneaky private life?”  “Doesn’t that determine part of their character?” “That just doesn’t seem right.” And Gumbel agreed. Furthermore when asked if most of the general population still somehow knew about the scandal, he believed they did not. Most of the class was not only confused by this, but also appalled. In this area, the open communication between the media and the people was definitely guarded.  Although many reporters still reported big scandals and lost their jobs because of it, the difference between American media communication and coverage compared to that of French is vast.  American tabloids are constantly exposing the private lives of individuals and often harming reputations of many, but is it the reporters job to inform the people? Is it about defending an individual person or a population of people? I don’t believe there is one right answer to that, and the value to which an individual holds freedom of speech to is going to vary from border to border.

McCann-Erickson Prague, Czech Republic
Our first media visit in Prague was to McCann-Erickson one of the biggest as agencies in the world. We listened to a lecture entitled “Discovering Czechness.” Ales Vyhlida discussed the people of the Czech Republic and their personality, daily routines, and what McCann-Erickson does to market to the people.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Uncertain Future of Print Journalism

By Jaclyn Dipasquale

With the continued advances in technology and increased options of news outlets, print journalism has been faced with a grim reality; it is no longer the staple society automatically turns to for news and information. New electronic devices like tablets and smart phones offer alternative options for news, like apps and access to online publications, making it a quicker and more efficient choice for news-hungry patrons. Thus, the opinion has emerged that print publications will not be able to compete with their technological opponents and eventually die out.

As a journalism student at the University of Missouri, I have heard many varying opinions regarding the future of print publications. As a student magazine emphasis area, I obviously believe that although print will face its obstacles with the Internet and news apps, it will ultimately survive. My opinion was reinforced when we arrived at the office of Le Monde in Paris. Le Monde is a French daily newspaper, founded in 1944. The paper boasts a circulation of more than 331,000 and can be compared to the United States’ New York Times. Unlike the withdrawal the United States has seen with its printed publications, Le Monde continues to thrive. This may be attributed to the French lifestyle and reputation of news-hungry citizens, but I believe it is more than that. I believe it shows that despite the new technology, there is a comfort people find in reading a printed publication, which is too strong to allow publishers to completely do away with print journalism. One of our speakers, Le Monde editor Serge Michel, agreed that he too believes print will indeed survive.

Over the years print publications have seen a decrease in ad spending while online ad spending has increased dramatically. According to, “Print advertising spending is expected to fall to $33.8 billion in 2012 from $36 billion in 2011.” Not a very reassuring statistic. Even worse, The Annenberg School at the University of Southern California predicted that only four US daily newspapers would still be in print in five years. Only time will tell if this is the case, but what we do know is that print publications will have to work hard to secure their survival.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Learn more about MU Journalism Abroad

 We had such a wonderful experience on our trip, we wanted to remind you about all the wonderful opportunities to study abroad with the Missouri School of Journalism. Hope you can join us at the Study Abroad Fair to learn more.

Busy Wednesday?  Check out our study abroad resources page for more details on the Missouri School of Journalism's International Programs department. You can also follow the department on Twitter or "like" it on Facebook.

McCann-Erickson: An Honest Reflection

By Julia Unverfehrt

As one of the many strategic communication majors going on the Europe Tour I was understandably excited for our only advertising agency visit to McCann-Erickson. Of course I had heard of the agency before, as it is a global advertising agency with offices in more than 130 countries.  One of eight companies within the McCann Worldgroup, the agency is internationally known and the list of brands that the agency works with is very impressive.  I went into the media visit with very high expectations, which may not always be the best strategy to have.  These expectations derived from my general knowledge of McCann Worldgroup and previous agency presentations.  I have visited many other advertising agencies in the past, mainly in St. Louis but also in New York as well. My past agency visits, although all very different, set my expectations for what I might experience at McCann-Erickson in Prague.  As I should have guessed, the office in Prague was very different from other agencies I have been to in the United States.  I learned a lot during the presentation, but I ultimately was a little surprised with the content of the presentation. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Advertising in Europe: How History and Culture Come Into Play

By Nicole Parker

McCann-Erickson in Prague is one of, if not the, most successful advertising agencies in the Czech Republic. As a part of the global advertising network in over 120 countries, McCann is the most commercially successful agency in the Czech Republic - with an abundance of Effie awards!

McCann Erickson is a very well-known and respected global agency, and I was excited to visit their office in Prague on the Europe trip since I first found out it was one of our many media visits! As a journalism major emphasizing in strategic communication, I plan on going into the advertising world on the account side and I love visiting agencies, discovering how they function and learning about their work. Another passion of mine is traveling and learning about different cultures. One of my goals for after graduation is to work at advertising agency in another country, so that I can combine these two things. I was hoping that the visit to McCann would provide some insights to advertising abroad, and after the visit I am even more excited about working in advertising here in the United States and abroad!

Prague was the first city in our four-city trip, and McCann Erickson was our very first media visit. Walking up to the office, we saw the plaque outside with their credo: "Truth Well Told" (above). Ales Vyhlidal is a strategic planner at McCann who talked to our group about their office in Prague, “Czech-ness” and what makes famous Czech advertisements popular. Vyhlidal hammered in the fact that advertising that considers and focuses on cultural values is very successful. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Reach Out And Touch Faith

By Liz Hartnett

 As Americans, we become familiar with any and every right that becomes exposed to ridicule -- the right to bear arms, the right to print, the right to vote. But one right that we often dismiss and interpret to our own discretion is probably the most important one; the right to practice our religion.
When it comes to practicing faith, Americans become very sensitive. To make a blatant generalization, it’s “alright” to have the freedom of religion when it comes to more conventional and familiar faiths, but when something new and foreign pops up, our most cherished and fundamental right becomes scrutinized.

With saying that, American journalism attempts to not reflect the biases of the mass. After all, as the bearers of light, we need to know better than those who were not blessed by the patron saint Walter Williams. But when religion and journalism mix, it can get heady.

As American culture becomes more and more secularized, you would think that faith-based journalism would lose its place to Justin Bieber and the other troubles of the world today. We face insurmountable debt, wars, disease, and a national election that might as well tear the country apart.  We have become a people of material possessions -- of iPhones, of Ugg boots, of fast cars. To say it plainly, religion has been replaced by something other in our lives.

At least, that’s what it looks like.

Religion journalism is thriving and well in America. The Revealer, a blog dedicated to discussing religion in the media, has been thriving since 2003. calls religious journalism the “most fascinating beat in journalism.” The website also has a long list of blogs dedicated solely to reporting on faith, as well as some guidelines with those who want to get started in the beat. And of course, there are news agencies throughout the world, committed to reporting on the different interpretations of God.
In Europe, though, religious journalism takes a different meaning.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Significance of Culture in Advertising

By Katherine Weider

The introduction of the iPod more than a decade ago led the Vatican to ask two questions – Is it good? And is it useful? Church officials weren't concerned with how much it cost, or where they could get it.  They simply wanted to know whether or not it would be of use in everyday life.  

Turns out, these two questions apply to the advertising world as well, and are considered when it comes to the strategic planning of an ad campaign.  The success of an ad depends on how well a message is presented to an audience; it must make people feel a need for the product or service being sold.  In order to create a good and useful ad, one must first have a full understanding of their audience’s culture and historical background. It is only from there, after considering a country’s cultural norms, that an advertiser can create an ad that is relevant to their audiences’ way of life.