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International Perspectives on Making News with Edda Schlager

By Kai Prager, Senior Media Relations Specialist

Business Wire is an international newswire, catering to the needs of organizations, companies, journalists, reporters and other media professionals around the world. The needs of our clients and partners varies from region to region making it important to keep our finger on the pulse of changing trends. There is no better method for identifying the needs of a journalist than by listening to what they have to say. Edda Schlager works as a journalist and photographer based in Kazakhstan’s former capital Almaty. As she writes for audiences in Europe and the US, she has to find a special touch to introduce new themes with a relevance to the market she’s writing for. 

To find out how she manages to discover the right stories for the right audiences, we asked her some questions about her work as a journalist and foreign correspondent:

You mainly work in Central Asia, which is an area that is not very present in European and US media. How do you select stories that are interesting for such an audience?

I always have to find a twist, which makes a story relevant for readers in Europe or the U.S. – such as a Kazakh German who was born in Kazakhstan, left it in the 90-ies for Germany and returned for business. I also use international politics or anniversaries to deliver background stories from Central Asia.

How do you find engaging stories?

I am in close contact with local colleagues, analysts, authorities or companies; I read local media and I am active on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram which are very popular in Central Asia. When travelling, I talk to people getting a sense for their daily problems or concerns. I use international news alerts like Google alerts or special interest services. Business Wire offers PressPass for journalists. So these international services give me the opportunity to monitor the broader setting of a current news mainstream and the demand for certain topics where I can place my local or regional stories in, which is quite important for me.

Which topics are the most popular from Central Asia?

In this year, of course, the Expo 2017 in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, will be one of the main news items from Central Asia. Central Asia is always good for exotic stuff of all kinds – rising fashion labels from Kyrgyzstan, the astonishing wildlife of the High Pamirs in Tajikistan, superlatives like the new luxury airport of Turkmenistan’s capital Ashgabat which can hold 17 million passengers a year.

Do you think there also is an audience for news and stories from Europe and the US in Central Asia?

Absolutely! The internet and especially social media are the main source for information in most Central Asian countries. People are looking for alternative sources. More and more people in Central Asia are studying abroad, after returning home they like to stay in touch with the world. As only few people know foreign languages most international news is consumed in Russian – made by Russian media. So, other point of views, are highly welcomed, even if it’s not simple to enter the Central Asian news markets.  

To find out more about Edda Schlager and her work as a journalist and photographer, please visit her website, or follow her on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Learn about Business Wire’s global distribution circuits reaching more than 100 countries in 19 languages

 

Tips for Your Business Meeting with a Japanese Company

 

by Ai Arakawa, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/Tokyo

Different people have different customs and while you might think that the uniqueness of Japanese customs is outstanding or exotic, they are standard practices for Japanese and a part of a cultural history.

Robin Pharo, after working for a Tokyo IT department, penned an article in JAPAN TODAY about the Japanese and their meeting style. In comparison to their American counterparts, the Japanese style left Robin awed by the seriousness and formal structure.  And it’s true – the Japanese could make the business meeting formal in a harmonious and respectful mood.  

I’d like to introduce some tips that might help you during your next visit with Japanese companies on future business trips.

Meeting time

It’s important to arrive on time, or five minutes earlier than the meeting’s start time, as Japanese value punctuality. If you arrive late, call your contact person as soon as possible and announce your estimated arrival time. However, it’s another story for the meeting’s closing time. Meetings in Japan often exceed the allotted time, expanding on various topics including non-business related talks, so it’s best practice not to schedule back-to-back meetings.

Appropriate attire for business meetings

Even though this certainly depends on with whom you are meeting (CEO or ordinary employee), it’s safest to wear a suit (with tie for men). But in recent years, thanks to the government’s energy saving campaign “Cool Biz” for summer and “Warm Biz” for winter, the dress code at the business meeting has become more relaxed. This is particularly the case this year as many companies try to save electricity to avoid the power shortages that could have been caused by the great earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku region earlier this year.

Bowing and the seat you take in the meeting room

When you visit and meet your client, your contact person may bow instead of shaking hands, as Japanese people frequently bow when meeting others or thanking or apologizing to someone.

Also, your client may pay attention to where you sit down. The seat furthest away from the entrance is called “kamiza” and it is reserved for the most important person in the room. As the guest, you may be taken to this “kamiza” seat with respect. It is expected that you take the seat if it is offered to you.

Exchanging Business cards

Japanese value the meishi (business card) exchange as the time of formal self-introduction. The person with higher title exchanges the card with the more senior person of the other company first. Then the persons with lesser titles will exchange cards. Introducing your company name and your own name with a bow, hand your card out and receive the other one with both of your hands.

Do not put the given card away in your card case or in the pocket of your jacket, keep it out on the table during the meeting. Writing something on the given card is not recommended — take good care of the card with respect as if it was an extension of him/her.

Any gifts to bring?

Offering a gift is not a strict tradition as is often thought. It would be nice timing to bring a gift if your visit occurs during either of the two gift giving seasons: One is “ochugen,” the season from the beginning to the middle of July; and another is “oseibo,” which is the season from the beginning to 25th of December. People and companies exchange gifts during these periods to express continuing gratitude.

If the meeting person doesn’t unpack your gift, don’t think he/she doesn’t like it, as there is a code of conduct and it’s rude to check what it is in front of the client.

These are just a part of Japanese business manners. Your client should understand that they are meeting with non-Japanese visitors, so do stress over following these guidelines precisely, but just enjoy the communication with your client. That’s what matters most.

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