Upcoming Business Wire Events: Olympics in London, Katie Paine in Dallas, Meet the Media in Boston, Denver and Charlotte

April 30, 2012

Upcoming Business Wire Events

Business Wire’s Media Breakfast: The Olympics, Media & PR

Hosted by Business Wire London

With the biggest sporting event in the world at our doorstep, join us for a discussion about how the Olympics affects the media landscape. Panelists include: Matt Ball, Editor-in-Chief of MSN UK, Scott Dougal, Deputy Sports Editor, the Press Association, Duncan Hooper, Managing Editor, News & Sport, MSN and Darren Waters, Head of Devices & Social Media, MSN / ex-BBC journalist. This event is FREE for public relations and communications professionals.

Wednesday, May 2 at 8:45 AM BST
St Bride Foundation
Bride Lane, Fleet StreetLondon , EC4Y 8EQ, United Kingdom

To register: RSVP by Monday 30 April to uk@BusinessWire.com

Meet the Boston Media

Hosted by Business Wire Boston

Join Business Wire Boston for breakfast and a panel discussion with members of the local media. Learn about current trends in journalism, what kind of news editors are looking for, and how to effectively pitch a story. Panelists include: George Donnelly - Executive Editor, Boston Business Journal, Abby Jordan – Associate Regional Editor, AOL’s Patch.com, Leigh Montgomery – Librarian, Christian Science Monitor, Frank Quaratiello – Business Editor, Boston Herald and Don Seiffert – Associate Editor, News, Mass High Tech. This event is FREE for all attendees.

Thursday, May 3 at 8:00 AM ET
Westin Waltham Hotel
70 Third Avenue, Waltham, MA, 02451

To register: RSVP to http://www.eventbrite.com/event/2184174926?ref=ebtn

Meet Denver Journalists and Public Relations Professionals Specializing in Targeting the Hispanic Market

Hosted by Business Wire Denver

Learn Tips for Reaching and Pitching Hispanic Media, a Critically Important and Growing Segment of the American Community. Daniel Montano, President/CE) of Elevation Creation International moderates a panel, including María Rozman, News Director, KDEN Telemundo Denver; Roberto Martínez-Maestre, General Director, El Hispano; Kim DeVigil, Senior Director, Communications, University of Denver; and Luisa Collins, News Director, Univision Colorado. This event is FREE for Business Wire members and $20 for non-members.

Thursday, May 3 at 8:30 AM MDT
Denver Athletic Club
1325 Glenarm Place, Denver, CO, 80204

To register: RSVP by May 1 to JoAnne Hirsch, (303) 861-8833 or joanne.hirsch@businesswire.com

Pitching to Pickup – Tips from Local Media on Working with Newsrooms

Hosted by Business Wire Charlotte

Local media professionals will discuss how to effectively pitch news to the media. Panelists include Dion Lim, News Anchor, WCNC; David Harris, Managing Editor, The Charlotte Business Journal and John Arwood, Business Editor, The Charlotte Observer. This event is FREE for Business Wire members and $20 for non-members.

Tuesday, May 22 at 7:30 AM ET
Dilworth Neighborhood Grille
911 East Morehead St, Charlotte, NC, 28204

To register: Please RSVP by Thursday, May 17 to Penny Sowards at penny.sowards@businesswire.com

Measuring What Matters: New Rules for 21st Century Communications Measurement

Hosted by Business Wire Dallas, with NIRI, PRSA, IABC and Critical Mention

What metrics really matter? How can metrics drive strategy? Join IABC, PRSA, NIRI, Business Wire & Critical Mention for the annual joint communications lunch, as Katie Paine, CEO of KDPaine & Partners, provides measurement insight on “best in class” measurement programs for 2012, best measurement tools today, where measurement is headed and more. Standard Luncheon Fees apply: Full-time Student $25.00, Guest $50.00 , Member $40.00 and Table of 10: $500.

Thursday, May 31 at 11:15 AM CT
Thanksgiving Tower (Tower Club)
1601 Elm Street, Dallas, TX, 75201

To register: Please RSVP by May 28 at 10:00 pm on this page

Business Wire holds dozens of local events every year. We bring local media members and industry thought leaders to your market to discuss today’s most relevant topics, from trends in today’s newsrooms to writing for SEO. Events are usually free of charge to members. For more upcoming local Business Wire events or to see what’s coming up in our award-winning webinar series, visit BusinessWire.com. Follow live updates from Business Wire events on Twitter: hash tag #bwchat


TRUNCATED TRANSPARENCY: The JOB Act’s Compressed IPO Cycle and its Hidden Implications for Market Fairness

April 27, 2012
by Neil Hershberg, Senior Vice President, Global Media/Business Wire
Neil Hershberg

Neil Hershberg, SVP - Global Media

Welcome to the new era of clandestine compliance.

The newly passed JOBS Act (Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act) has come under withering attack by an influential chorus of critics. They are sounding the alarm that the Act dangerously dials back the disclosure obligations of “emerging companies” seeking to go public.

To be clear, we are not talking about mom-and-pop operations here. In Washington’s grandiose way of thinking, “startups” are defined as having revenues of up to $1 billion annually.  In other words, the majority of companies opting to go public will now get up to a five-year exemption from many of today’s more stringent disclosure requirements.

The controversial legislation has drawn fire from leading journalists, including Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Times; securities regulators, including SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro; and shareholder advocates, including Barbara Roper of The Consumer Federation of America. The consensus view is that the JOBS Act is a regressive measure that threatens to erode many longstanding investor safeguards. Clever acronyms aside, the JOBS Act is broadly portrayed as weakening the safety net for investors.

The JOBS Act does create new channels for pre-IPOs to communicate with the investment community. However, the Act effectively closes the blinds on the closely monitored IPO pipeline, precluding the ability of investors to delve deeply into the dealings of companies under consideration. Under the new ground rules, prospective IPOs are now protected by a cloak of sanctioned secrecy during the protracted filing period leading up to their public offering.

The result is that clarity has given way to opaqueness. IPOs are now able to engage in confidential discussions with the SEC about their plans to tap the capital markets, until 21 days before the IR Road Show cavalcade begins.

Critical corporate information that was previously made available to investors months in advance — including financials and insights into the company’s organizational structure — can now be legitimately withheld from public scrutiny until three weeks before the investor marketing process gets underway.

What this means in practice is that investors essentially have about a month or so to evaluate the financial viability of a company preening to go public; previously, interested investors had a minimum of several months to do their due diligence.

There also is a more subtle side effect to today’s cloistered IPO process, one that further distorts the dynamics of a fair and competitive marketplace.

The SEC approved a rule change last December that allows NASDAQ to offer “free” corporate IR services, e.g. press release distribution and IR Web hosting, to IPOs and companies that transfer their listings from the NYSE.

Coincidentally, all these corporate services are provided by NASDAQ’s wholly owned subsidiaries, thwarting competition. The ability of NASDAQ to bundle IR services with its listing fees effectively elbows other service providers — many with superior, more advanced product offerings — out of the equation.

The agency’s approval came despite what we believe was a preponderance of evidence that the practice was anti-competitive. Ironically, SEC Chairman Schapiro was recently called to testify before a Congressional committee looking into the agency’s lack of economic analysis in its rule-making process. Clearly, the SEC should have done a lot more home work before rendering a decision in favor of NASDAQ’s rule change.

For all its political promise and good intentions, the JOBS Act has made a bad situation worse. Any pretense of market fairness during the IPO birthing process has now lost all credibility.

Today’s closed environment allowing IPOs to silently snake their way through the filing process has reinforced NASDAQ’s unfair competitive advantage, eliminating any premise of meaningful competition. Not only does NASDAQ have the inside track, but the track itself is now largely hidden from public view.

In perhaps the cruelest irony, the JOBS Act may result in the ultimate unintended consequence: potentially destroying jobs in a robust industry that has long thrived based on a model of fair and open competition.


Multimedia Continues to Drive Press Release Views – Now More than Ever!

April 23, 2012
by Sandy Malloy, Senior Information Specialist, Business Wire

Sandy Malloy, Senior Information Specialist

Facebook buys Instagram.  Experian Hitwise reports that Pinterest is now the #3 social site on the Web.  More than ever, the adage “show, don’t tell” applies to communications and communicators.

Adding multimedia to a press release tends to increase the number of online release views.  When I looked at a list of the most-viewed releases of the second half of 2011 to see how many were multimedia-enriched, I found some pretty startling numbers.

Of the top 500 English-language releases, about 75% had one or more photos or videos.  Out of all the English language releases that Business Wire distributes, only 5% include multimedia.   In other words, 5% of all our English language releases accounted for 75% of the 500 most-viewed releases in the last 6 months of last year.

We can’t really say that your release is 75% more likely to be viewed if you include photos or videos, or that it will receive 75% more views.  Nevertheless, it seems pretty clear to me that adding multimedia does help drive release views.

Consider the releases on the most-popular list that ran without multimedia:

  • Google to Acquire Motorola Mobility
  • Announcements from several huge pharmaceutical companies on the results of clinical trials or strategic initiatives
  • Major acquisitions and joint ventures involving public and/or well-known companies
  • One of the major video game manufacturers announcing a price drop

That the Google announcement was hugely popular was no surprise.  News from very large public companies is of inherent interest to the media and markets.  Acqusitions are almost always big news because of investor interest and because they can affect an entire industry.  Video game news, with or without multimedia, tends to be noticed.

Meanwhile, the variety of photos and videos that ran with the Top 500 releases was wide-ranging.  Some examples:

  • A river cleanup
  • A photo of sauces and condiments
  • Photos of existing DRAM technology and an innovative variation
  • Photos of the principals of 2 merging companies
  • A benchmarking study (graphic)
  • Pictures and/or video of contest winners
  • Ringing of the Opening Bell at the NYSE

What is clear to me from this list is that the potential for finding visuals to accompany–or to tell–a story is vast.

A release can be very technical but illustrated with a photo that its equally technical audience will appreciate.  The media do appreciate photos of people, and not just for personnel announcements.  (If those people are celebrities, so much the better, but it’s not a requirement.  Newspapers and business journals love to use photos of locals.)   Charts and graphs can be compelling.  Finally, there are some stories that seem to beg for photos or videos.  Among these are any releases announcing eye-catching new products; corporate social responsibility releases (show the river that’s being cleaned up, the electric car charging stations, the participants in the 10K run);and releases announcing corporate milestones.

Besides the potential bump in viewership,  using multimedia in conjunction with a good story can increase the chances a story will be used by broadcast media.  Broadcast monitoring service and Business Wire partner Critical Mention reported in one of their newsletters that the Yelp’s IPO announcement resulted in 395 hits on U.S. television stations; and these are over-the-air broadcasts, not postings on broadcast websites.  The story was a big one, of course, but the accompanying images were really colorful and exciting.  As Critical Mention described it, the release (what Business Wire calls a Smart News Release) was “loaded with newsy images and video.”

Besides the benefits of attracting attention to your release and giving journalists more reason to cover your news, there is at least one other benefit to using multimedia:  Your news can live longer.  I have seen many instances of photos being used months or even years after they originally ran.  An especially good photo of people or companies in the news can be used more than once, as in this example of Business Wire’s CEO Cathy Baron Tamraz shown with Warren Buffett in a 9/30/11 photo illustrating a 2/6/12 story.

Granted, being affiliated with Warren Buffett is an advantage when it comes to gaining attention.  But even companies that don’t have this advantage can still give their stories greater appeal, and “legs”, by supplementing them with multimedia.


Business Wire’s Pilar Portela Named to Board of Local NAHJ Chapter

April 18, 2012

Pilar Portela, Media Relations Supervisor based in our Florida office, was recently named an at-large board member to the South Florida chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ). Pilar has been a key player in recent years in developing Business Wire’s LatinoWire circuits, speaking on industry panels and cultivating relationships with Hispanic journalists and media properties.

Pilar Portela

Pilar Portela, Business Wire Media Relations Representative

According to Pilar, “Through my active participation in NAHJ South Florida I have found that it has brought me closer to the Hispanic media community (both traditional and social media). I have also been part of some really great media events such as our February Hispanic Elections panel discussion featuring Maria Elena Salinas of Univision. Last, I helped to raise books for a local underprivileged Miami school library through a NAHJ South Florida and Business Wire book drive”

Asked what she hopes to contribute via her NAHJ board membership, Pilar said, “Since the National NAHJ Convention in June 2010, I have been actively involved with establishing the NAHJ South Florida Chapter by helping to coordinate meetings and increasing local NAHJ awareness and membership. In the role of At Large Officer I intend to continue to be a big part of the Chapter Committee especially with large projects such as membership and fundraiser drives and also assist the Sponsorship, Event, and Charity Committees.”

Congratulations, Pilar!


Seeing the Big Picture: How PR Pros Can Use Infographics to Tell a Story

April 17, 2012
by Shawnee Cohn, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/NY
MRT

Shawnee Cohn

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but what about a thousand hits? Defined as “graphic visual representations of information, data, or knowledge,” infographics are more likely to be shared via social media than your standard text article. Therefore, both journalists and PR professionals are taking notice of this visual phenomenon. (Need some examples? Take a look at this slideshow from Mashable).

Here at Business Wire, we encourage clients to create infographics and include them as Smart News release assets in their press releases. For example, Kaplan Test Prep recently utilized an infographic to summarize their annual survey results. Convio also offered a visual look at the data included within their press release about online giving, and Mashable later republished that same infographic.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So if you’re a PR professional embarking on the infographic challenge, what do you need to know beforehand? The Publicity Club of New York recently hosted a discussion about these popular visual representations of data. The panel included:

Here are some highlights offered by the experts:

Infographics help us cope with information overload: With the abundance of raw data that is available to consumers today, the average person’s “attention span is declining,” and infographics are an effective way to spark a reader’s interest, says Spurlock. Pachal agreed, stating that infographics are “more clickable” than other multimedia, such as video, which may turn a reader off since it usually requires sound, as well as investing more time to watch. Consequently, including the word ‘Infographic’ in your press release headline is a great tactic to increase your number of hits.

Not all infographics are created equal: If you’re compiling numbers into a graphic, yet those numbers do not relate, the purpose of the infographic is lost, notes Spurlock. Bergmann agreed, suggesting that PR pros evaluate the usefulness of an infographic on a “story-to-story basis.” At the Associated Press, staffers are very interested in interactive graphics as well as animations. However, Neesa pointed out that “not every story renders well into a visual,” and PR pros should be cautious of jumping to the assumption that every poll translates into a legitimate news story. The panelists agreed that pitching an infographic that blatantly promotes your brand is a major faux pas. If your visual looks the least bit like propaganda, any legitimate news organization will be reluctant to post it, as it could hurt their brand value, says Bergmann.

Be clear and concise; editors and readers will thank you: One of the main advantages of creating an infographic is that it allows you to “mold and present information in a way that’s clear to the reader,” commented Bergmann. If you cram too much information into your graphic, you’re defeating its original purpose. Pachal mentioned that your infographic should easily translate to Pinterest, which drives much of the online traffic today. Whether you’re pitching an idea for an infographic or an actual infographic itself, make sure you are presenting “tabulated, nugget-style information,” suggests Neesa. Focus on how you can break the product/idea up; if your information is already organized for the visual staff at a news outlet, this makes their job that must easier. Lastly, stick to the facts, and facts only. The editorial team will vet and research the data you present before they post or link to your infographic, so you must be absolutely sure that your methodology and sampling are valid beforehand.

For more information on the Publicity Club of NY, visit www.publicityclub.org. You can get the latest news with photos/multimedia by registering at www.businesswire.com.


The World’s Biggest Media & Facebook – An Evolving Relationship

April 11, 2012

By Michel Rubini, International MRT Specialist – London

In 2007, Rupert Murdoch joked about Facebook overtaking MySpace as the most popular social networking site on the web.  Not long after, it was no laughing matter.

While Facebook might not be the best social networking site, or offer the best user experience, or even the most innovative solutions, it has been accepted as the standard by most internet users. Facebook has now reached the 600 million user mark, so it is no surprise that media organisations across the world are looking into ways to tap into this pool of potential readers.

At a recent News:Rewired event (a periodical digital journalism conference) in London, I listened to speakers from some of the world’s biggest media organisations explain how they are facing — and mostly embracing — Facebook.

The most enthusiastic evangelist was Martin Belam, User Experience Lead at The Guardian. Belam explained how their new Facebook application has been hugely successful. The application allows users to share Guardian content easily with their friends, and so far, six million people have downloaded it. One of the most exciting things, according to Belam, is that 54 percent of the users are under 24 – the kind of audience the Guardian has always aspired to reach.

Belam also explained that a younger audience means a younger kind of content becoming popular on the application. He denied there was any danger of a “dumbing down” The Guardian. “To my mind, if we are producing that content anyway – which we do – then why wouldn’t we want it to reach as wide an audience as possible?” he asked.

Belam also noted that there is growing evidence that the Facebook application alone is producing as many views for articles as the guardian.co.uk site, in practice doubling the amount of traffic a story gets.

Liz Heron, former social media editor of The New York Times and current director of social media and engagement with The Wall Street Journal, seemed to agree with Martin. “In the new landscape, the question is no longer whether we do social media, the question is how. How can we make our social media experiences stand out?”

She went on to note that fifty New York Times journalists offer Facebook subscription streams; and that all reporters have been encouraged lately to try Facebook, especially foreign correspondents. The advantage of Facebook, she said, is that it offers great crowdsourcing opportunities and can yield insightful comments and debates. However, the majority of New York Times journalists are still using Twitter. This is due to the fact that most journalists are aware of the dangers of mixing personal profiles with professional lives.

Nate Lanxon, editor of wired.co.uk was very clear about the importance of Facebook. He admitted that for 5 years WIRED had ignored Facebook.  That has recently changed. He has now printed a big photo of Mark Zuckerberg which is passed around the office. The person with the photo is the editor of the WIRED Facebook page for that day. The physical presence of the photo has helped the newsroom embrace Facebook in its daily publishing routine.

Lanxon said one of their key discoveries was that having a presence on Facebook wasn’t about driving fans to WIRED, it was about driving WIRED to fans. Lanxon also noted that Facebook follows its own news cycle. Facebook items seem to increase in traffic around the late afternoon and evenings, when users log in to check their latest feeds.

These three examples seem to show a clear shift in how well regarded (and global) news organisations are fully embracing the enormous readership potential offered by Facebook.


LA Communicators Share Online Newsroom Best Practices

April 9, 2012

by Warner Boutin, Account Executive & Luis Guillen, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire LA

Business Wire LA hosted a media panel breakfast event on Wednesday, March 28th examining best practices for online newsrooms.

Business Wire’s VP Web Communications, Ibrey Woodall moderated the panel. Panelists included Brian O’Connor, Director of Marketing & PR, Cunard Cruise Line; Serena Ehrlich, Director of Marketing, Mogreet; Deborah Braidic, Manager Website Content/Internal Communications, Children’s Hospital LA and Amanda Hedlund, Web Communications & Media Relations Specialist, Children’s Hospital LA.

L-R: Amanda Hedlund, Deborah Braidic, Brian O’Connor, Serena Ehrlich & moderator Ibrey Woodall

Based on the recent Bulldog Reporter/Business Wire Communicators Online Newsroom Survey results, panelists discussed anecdotes, challenges & overall benefits of their online newsrooms. Here are some of the highlights of the discussion:

General survey findings:

  • Half (48.4%) of corporate communicators currently have an online newsroom
  • The online newsroom remains a relatively modest investment for most companies
  • Companies are integrating their social media activity into their newsrooms
  • Two most important site features: PR contacts and search module

On building your online newsroom:

  • Stakeholders should come together from the very beginning – O’Connor
  • Corporate communications and web development must be on same page. “We streamlined things early, which prevented the marriage from falling apart down the road” – Braidic
  • Know your audience’s needs. “We make sure our audience can quickly find our latest news” – Hedlund
  • Determine what content your audience wants to see
  • Journalists want quick access to your newsroom rather than searching full site

On making your online newsroom relevant:

  • Customize newsroom based on top 3 most frequently accessed content type:
    • Photos, press releases & b-roll – Cunard Cruise Line
    • Multimedia, PR contacts and all social media content – Mogreet
    • Multimedia, Experts/Physicians lists and protected logos – Children’s Hospital
  • Categorize your releases and list experts as well – Ehrlich
  • Use inbound site traffic to create potential blog posts. “I check the web traffic analytics for blog ideas” – Ehrlich
  • Analyze your online newsroom’s web page stats on a weekly basis
  • Make your corporate blog accessible on your online newsroom

On online newsroom maintenance, crisis communication and security:

  • Every company should have dark site ability, allowing you to prepare pages ahead of time for a potential crisis
  • Dark sites need to be light on graphics and multimedia
  • Some of my clients maintain 10-12 different dark sites for “just-in-case” situations – Ehrlich
  • You must know your target market if you’re going to password protect your newsroom – Ehrlich
  • Password protected content needed sometimes:
    • We don’t want somebody pulling a photo archive on a ship we don’t manage anymore – Cunard Cruise Line
    • Sometimes we’ll use passwords to prevent logos from being stolen – Children’s Hospital LA

For more upcoming local Business Wire events or to see what’s coming up in our award-winning webinar series, visit our events page or follow Business Wire events on Twitter, hashtag #bwchat.


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