What makes news in Blighty vs Down Under

Our intern Sarah Rankine from Melbourne Australia gives her perspective on the news agenda from both parts of world

Coming to the cold London winter from hot Melbourne, I was excited to finally start working with Franklin Rae PR and get my first taste of what it’s like to work in public relations. Currently studying a degree in communications, I wanted to gain more experience and understanding of what this career path could hold for on a global scale, so I applied to come to London to start an internship with a company which understood my goals and was willing to help me achieve them.

After spending nearly 2 months of learning about the industry and experiencing the British media sphere from daily newspaper reading both with the physical papers as well as major news sources online, I’ve gained a deeper understanding and appreciation for how news is shared around the United Kingdom and the EU compared to Australia and other countries around the world. I’ve watched top stories focus on issues close to home, like the Australian bushfires to UK specific issues like Brexit and Megxit, and of course the worldwide outbreak of the Coronavirus. Whilst observing all this news and living in London for the first time, I’ve seen how the current events affect the nation from the social media presence, to the people talking about top stories whilst being handed newspapers at the entrance to the tube stations.

One of the main differences I’ve seen, is how serious the news here comes across, as compared to the laidback nature of Australia, which is apparently not just a stereotype as I had originally thought. The colloquial language which is commonplace in a lot of Australian newspapers and online publications shows a real trend that I’ve come to appreciate through watching the British media of how, despite speaking the same language these two countries communicate within themselves very differently.  I’ve noticed all the ways in which Australian and British newspapers tend to differ and remain similar can be likened to how that represents the overall culture of these countries. While Melbourne based newspapers like the Herald Sun and The Age often have headlines and front pages dedicated discussing the Australian Football League (AFL), the tennis and other sports along with current events, the UK newspapers tend to add their sports section in the back, reserving the front page for updates on ‘hard news’ as well as the royal family or the nation’s obsession with the weather especially the recent storm that was widespread across the country.

Whilst the UK has around twelve newspapers published daily, Australia only has a two or three big publications per state. The huge size of Australia means that very rarely do we get the same headlines across the whole country, rather each state having its own issues to focus on, and only delving into the huge global issues. Meanwhile the vast amount of content in the UK not only discusses the current events of this country, but so many others, and every different publication often has a significantly different take on the story. Once I got over how overwhelming this was, I realised how the diversified content enables the general public to be a lot more well-informed about what is going on in the world, rather than just the country. This showed me just how far away and cut off Australia appear to be at times.

As my time here comes to an end, I’ve been reviewing all the skills I’ve learnt, like how to write a press release, prepare a post for Instagram, create a media list and understanding just how the PR industry functions from an internal perspective. This opportunity has opened my eyes to the literal ‘’world of opportunities that are available and given me a great amount of knowledge that I definitely feel will help me to find a career within this field.