As is true with pharmaceutical manufacturers, members of the trade press tend to be a bit wary of their competitors, yet we also have many questions, challenges and experiences in common. Here in Boston I've exchanged hugs with two journalists I met last fall in Wales (one based in the southern U.S. and one from the UK), dined with a couple of delightful staffers from a semi-competitor, and made potentially symbiotic contacts with writers from Spain and Switzerland. The dinner conversation barely touched on "business" -- we found we had plenty to talk about as three well-traveled human beings. But the Swiss writer gave me a deliciously ironic tidbit: Even though his publication covers Europe, he has to come to U.S. shows such as BIO to see European -- and even Swiss --manufacturers. In fact, a considerable percentage of the journalists here are from abroad. Heidi Parsons It seems that pharma's "extremely protective" approach to P.R. is the rule in Europe as well as the U.S. Only layered on top of that is Europe's formality.