sarah snell cooke

Assumptions can be very dangerous in business as well as in life. You may assume everything is OK when your toddler is quiet in the next room, thinking you know more than you do.

For example, I was asked to talk with some Macedonian credit union leaders about how to work with the media. I’ve been in journalism for nearly two decades, so I should be able to help them with public relations, right? No biggie.

Then I learned Macedonia has what’s been generously termed as a “partly free press” by Freedom House. Some of the media are state owned while others are privately held companies. The media that strive for independence are hamstrung financially, because the government accounts for such a large portion of revenue (1% of the national budget goes to advertising!) and due to sheer competition among the 200 media outlets serving just two million people – one for every 10,000 people. Even CU Times’ very specific B2B niche competitive ratio is more than 1:50,000. Outlets that are too independent quickly decline in a country where the unemployment rate has drastically improved in the last couple of years to just below 25%.

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