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I recently placed a request for Expat feedback on this, alongside other Expat websites, after having also recently conducted a sucessful interview with Bob Pearson who heads the AngloInfo Brittany site.
Several internet users expressed shock that a journalist would post a request for feedback on a forum and I would like to both respnd to this and also make a suggestion to you about your site.
In the interview, Bob Pearson told me that he got his job running the Britanny site by having lived as an expat in Britanny, and then telling you that a
lthough the thought the AngloInfo site produce was excellent, it was not quite as good as it could be in other respects. He told me that he had you that he thought you "could be doing more" to reach out to expats in some ways, and he made his suggestions.
In exactly the same way, I think your site could do more to cater for the press.
Like the telephone, post, and face-to-face contact, the internet is a medium of communication to be used today to establish contact with people.
If you look at other expat websites, such as www.britishexpats.com you will see that it is common place practice / methodology for media to place requests for Expat feedback on Expat forums.
At the time of writing, the latest post on their site reads:
“Get a New life BBC Programme
Have you recently ‘Got a New Life’ in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Europe?
Have you and your family/ friends been through the rough and the smooth of relocation to Europe?
'Get a New Life’, BBC2 are looking for a UK family, currently living in Europe to show the realities of relocation.
If you fit the bill, please email email@example.com“
Another example - www.expatfocus.com also operates a media-friendly company policy. Its ‘article writing’ section reads:
“We are always interested in entertaining or informative articles which would be enjoyed by our expat readership. If you would like to write such an article we would be happy to post it to the Expat Focus site and include a link back to your site and/or your contact information. “
I got the impression that some of the internet users who posted replies were shocked that a request for expat feedback (neutral term for two sides of the spectrum) was posted in an expat forum, and that this was cheap and therefore unworthy research.
It would indeed by cheap, unworthy research if material was only compiled this way (via internet). I think the ‘dodgy dossier’ story highlights this, and rightly so.
Posting a request for Expat feedbvack in an Expat forum, however, is not research. This is an attempt to find / get in touch with people, so that contact can then be made, preferably in person, with a view to hearing their case and considering as material.
I would not consider one of replies posted on this site as material as, although many of the views were relvant (they represented views of people who do feel very strongly that inter-expat tension is not an issue) no one has yet given their full name and details which is the basic the minimum before one can even start to further investigate their story and consider it as material.
So far everything else is just names from an internet user. They might all be true – they certainly seem to represent strong feelings, but ultimately as yet they are just first names of people I don’t know from Adam and would therefore not even consider using as case studies.
I have been writing about Expat issues for seven years, (Alongside mainstream British and European newspapers, I've also written for Expatica.com, Expatrium, The Vienna Reporter, Austria Today etc). I think your site is excellent, howeover, could AngloInfo not look at ways of acknowledging that media posting Expat feedback requests is common practice, and try to cater for this a bit more?
Could it find a way of enabling the media to post a request in a section so that those who are serious about responding to the issue (ie with a view to being considered as case studies for an article / TV docuentary) can then easily get in contact with the media, in a similar way to www.expatfocus.com and www.britishexpats.com?
British Expat and Freelance journalist living in former East Germany. http://www.robhydeglobal.com
Telephone: +49 (0)173 186 1164