Business Wire Spotlight: Meet Zara McAlister!

August 11, 2014

For today’s Friday spotlight, we once again head north to interview Zara McAlister,  our Canadian media relations specialist.

Meet Zara McAlisterZara, thank you for speaking with us!  Tell us about yourself, where are you from?
I was born and raised in Port Perry, Ontario, a small town north of Toronto. As a country girl, I’ve had to adjust to big city living in Toronto. It’s getting easier every day.  

When did you start working for Business Wire?
After completing my MA degree in Journalism from Western University in the spring of 2012, I took on the position of newsroom editor at Business Wire’s Toronto office the following November.    

You first started at Business Wire as an editor, tell us more about your roles within the company.
Although I enjoyed the editorial and client relations side at Business Wire when I worked in our Toronto newsroom, I was excited about pursuing new opportunities as a media relations specialist for our Canadian territory. This role enabled me to put on my journalistic thinking cap and collaborate with the thousands of journalists in the country. I’ve been working in this role for the past five months – and I love doing it!

Tell us more about your role as our Canadian media relations expert?
As a media relations specialist, I develop and maintain relationships with Canadian journalists, form partnerships with media points by exploring content license opportunities, co-manage our @BusinesswireCA Twitter account and I work on keeping our expansive database of media contacts up-to-date. Apart from my primary responsibilities, I also enjoy writing content for our blog and other public and investor relations publications.

What do you enjoy about your job?
The best part about my role in media relations is the opportunity to meet new journalists every day. Even though I’m not always interacting with journalists face-to-face (more often than not we connect via social media), I get to learn about our Canadian media landscape, what our journalists deem newsworthy and how Business Wire can facilitate their needs. I think working with our journalists is so important given how unstable their industry is at this time, so we want to be able to help our reporters and editors as they are taking on massive changes.

What do you like about Business Wire?
All of my colleagues, from Seattle to Tokyo, have always been friendly and encouraging. Our global team is ready to land a hand when needed, despite operating on different time zones. Our courtesy with each other definitely extends to our customers and our media partners, so they can always expect outstanding and punctual customer service.

What are some of your favorite contributions to Business Wire?
I was able to hone my copy editing skills when I worked in our Toronto newsroom, so I always felt a rush of adrenaline every time I was able to catch misplaced quotation marks, dangling modifiers, and misspelled names.  I prided myself on spotting those pesky little “It’s” vs. “Its” errors, which actually happens quite frequently.  

I’ve been able to employ my journalistic skills by writing content marketing pieces to help increase our brand awareness in Canada. I’m not afraid to try out new ways of marketing ourselves.

Tell us about yourself!
I’m a self-professed lover of chick lit and all things related to the Bachelor/Bachelorette reality TV show. For those two hour episodes every Monday evening, my eyes are glued to the TV watching impossibly romantic dates and heart wrenching breakups. When it’s not a Monday evening (and this show airs pretty much all of the time), you can find me enjoying Toronto’s summer patio scene or hitting around a birdie with my badminton racquet.

I’m also a globe trotter, having travelled across North and South America, and much of Europe.

What drives you to do what you do every day at Business Wire?

As soon as I step into my office, I’m ready to offer valuable content to our Canadian journalists so that they can share important news with their readers or investors. Newsrooms will never have to worry about a lack of content when they decide to work with Business Wire.

What is your favorite thing about living in Canada?
That we are generally well-liked by people around the world. Because the stereotype that Canadians are polite, friendly and outgoing people is actually accurate—look no further than our Toronto office team. Also, I think I look fairly stylish in a snowsuit.  

Why do you recommend Canadian companies work with Business Wire?
Business Wire has formed long-lasting and solid partnerships with many of the major media points around the world. That means that your news will always be viewed and shared by the editors, reporters and producers that make up global newsrooms.


The Hive – The Buzz and Business of Blogging in Europe

July 31, 2014

By Kai Prager – Senior International Media Relations Specialist

The Hive – The Buzz and Business of Blogging in Europe

Picture provided by Elisabetta Rizzato, Italian Bark (http://www.er-interiordesign.com/)

Two stops from Copenhagen Main Station I stepped off the local train. I looked around and had the feeling I was in a different city:  No historic buildings, no boats … just a few apartment buildings and a modern structure in the background. I took to the street with my little map and tried to decide which direction to go.  I saw two women leaving the station as well and asked them for directions. They pointed toward the modern structure. They were also on their way to the conference, and five minutes later we entered The Hive together, like three eager bees.

The Hive styles itself as “The European Blog Conference.” Visitors came to Denmark from all over Europe, from Iceland to Italy and from Hungary to the Netherlands, to attend. Some of the participants even crossed the Atlantic to take part in the conference, taking the scope as far as the U.S.

Attending the keynote I noticed a main theme that appeared in one form or another throughout the event: Authenticity.

Katie Treggiden, Confessions of a Geek Designer

Katie Treggiden, Confessions of a Geek Designer

Katie Treggiden, who runs the blog Confessions of a Geek Designer, gave an engaging speech about finding –and writing in — one’s own voice and theme. She said this is essential to attracting a core audience who visit the blog regularly. Broadly styled writings, on the other hand, don’t aggravate anyone.

The next speaker, who showcases authenticity with every post, is the charming Anne Faber.  She discussed how Anne’s Kitchen  turned from a blog to both a book and a TV show. The secret to her success is her love of food and cooking which she convincingly applied to her blog and later adopted for publishing efforts and a career as a television presenter.

The Hive hosted a wide range of keynotes and workshops showcasing helpful tools for bloggers, from social media and SEO to storytelling and photography. There were helpful tips for those who want to turn their blog into a business, such as including ads, tying in a shop or offering other services. But it was also stated that all efforts to gain revenue should fit the overall concept of the blog; otherwise, the authenticity of the blog would be damaged.

After two days at the conference, and talking to bloggers from all over Europe and beyond, I left with the realization that blogging transcends borders and connects people all over the world. Blogging provides the possibility to look closely into a special subject that can attract readers everywhere. It permits the use of a wide array of media like text, film, audio and images. But most important, a blog should be authentic and true to its theme and style.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Business Wire Spotlight: Meet Justine Fifield

July 28, 2014

In today’s employee spotlight, we interviewed Justine Fifield, an editor from our Canadian office, asking her to share more about herself, her job and her vision for Business Wire.

JustineJustine, it is wonderful to speak with you!  Where are you from?
Born and raised in Toronto, Canada

When did you start working for Business Wire?
I started just a few months ago in February of 2014, and am the newest member of the team here in Toronto

What is your background?
Academically, I have a background in European History and English Literature, both of which I studied at the University of Guelph. Professionally, I have had much experience in customer service and have worked as an editor for a number of years before joining Business Wire.

What do you do at Business Wire?
I work as a Newsroom Editor for Business Wire, preparing press releases for dissemination and working with clients to ensure that their releases hit their desired media points.

What do you enjoy about your job?
I enjoy the careful precision that working as an editor demands, as well as getting to interact with clients on a daily basis to help ensure that their experience with Business Wire is a both a smooth and positive one. The amount of customer service that is tied to the editorial position can be very rewarding, as clients are often very happy with the level of service that we provide as a company.

What do you like about Business Wire?
We’re a small team here in Toronto, but this makes for a very tight-knit, positive and supportive environment that I look forward to coming to every day. It’s also a great feeling to be a part of an industry leading company such as Business Wire, and to know that products and services we offer are second to none.

Tell us about yourself!
In the past year, I have finished up my undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph, where I studied European History and English Lit – so yes, I love all things written and always seem to have my nose in a book.
 
I also play piano and guitar, and am hoping to try my hand at violin with some lessons coming up in the fall. Like any good Italian I love to eat, and trying new restaurants is a favourite pastime of mine, especially with Toronto’s blossoming restaurant scene. I enjoy learning new things and finding new ways to challenge myself, and love to spend time with friends and family whenever I can.

What drives you to do what you do every day at Business Wire?
For me, the best motivator in any position is always the people I work with. When I am surrounded by a highly positive, professional, supportive and passionate team such as the one at Business Wire, I feel inspired to put my best foot forward and grow professionally as an individual within a larger team.

What is your favorite thing about living in Canada?
I’ve lived in Canada all my life, and though I could do without the long, frigid winters, I can’t imagine living anywhere else. Canada is home to some amazing people and carries its own unique culture, something I see every day in Toronto. If you haven’t been to visit, you really should!


Original Berkshire Hathaway Pennants on Sale to Benefit Douglas County Nebraska CASA

May 1, 2014

This is a big week for Business Wire as our team heads to our parent company, Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska. For the last seven years, Business Wire has used attendance at the annual conference as a platform to raise funds for CASA, a charitable organization that provides a voice for abused and neglected children within the court system via trained citizen volunteers.   This year is no different.

Berkshire Hathaway Sluggers baseball pennants

Berkshire Hathaway Sluggers baseball pennants

For 2014, Business Wire is raising money by selling original Berkshire Hathaway Sluggers baseball pennants, available for $7 each or two for $10.

“For seven years we have proudly participated at the Berkshire annual meeting while helping out with a worthy cause like CASA. In the spirit of this year’s baseball theme we will take our metaphorical seventh-inning stretch by contributing to charity,” said Cathy Baron Tamraz, chairwoman and chief executive officer of Business Wire.

Douglas County Nebraska CASA was established in 1998 at the urging of area judges. CASA was created under the premise that there must be an advocate for children within the court system–someone who will fight and keep the child’s best interests at heart. It is the CASA volunteer that helps judges make good decisions on behalf of these abused children.

“What a great opportunity to raise awareness while generating much-needed funds to support advocates for children within the court system. Every dollar that Business Wire raises ultimately helps transform a child’s future,” said Kimberly Thomas, Executive Director of CASA for Douglas County.

The pennants are available at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting in Omaha or can be purchased online: http://bit.ly/BRKPennant

Excited by our news and want to share it out?  Click here to share it immediately on Twitter:  http://ctt.ec/5Aucc


Happy 25th Anniversary World Wide Web!

March 12, 2014

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social + Evolving Content

Twenty-five years ago today, the concept of the World Wide Web was officially established.  Founded by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, built as a side project while at CERN, Tim was the first person to write the code for a browser and editorial system, eventually released broadly and at no cost in 1993.

The establishment of the World Wide Web changed the way companies and consumers interacted.  Before the introduction of websites, PR teams would distribute press releases, then manually follow up with interested parties, including reporters, analysts and customers by phone.  If someone wanted to learn more about an organization or its offerings, they would call, leave a message and hope for a return call.  If no return call was made, no company information was shared.

Before the introduction of websites, news consumption was via newspapers and magazines with TV and radio leading the charge with breaking news or daily recaps.

Business Wire WebsiteNineteen  years ago, Business Wire recognized that the World Wide Web would dramatically change the way the world communicated.  We understood that by providing media, analysts and consumers instant access to key news and information, companies would build stronger relationships with these groups, as well as increase brand visibility and reach to new, previously hard- to-reach audiences.

But the web didn’t just help organizations.  With our new website, the first in the entire commercial newswire industry, Business Wire now offered additional ways for reporters, journalists and analysts to receive news– via newswire feed, email or web, ensuring immediate access to the corporate information they needed to write stronger and more compelling stories – ultimately increasing their own readership and reach.

News distribution and consumption has changed dramatically for all organizations in the last 25 years.  The penetration of smartphones ensures that 90% of American adults have full computer power in their pockets at all time.  Consumers and media alike can access websites, corporate newsrooms, social media channels and more to find company or product information.  While newswire distributions continue to be the preferred method of news distribution, journalists can receive press releases instantly through email or text message.

The late 90s and early 2000s also brought significant changes to the web, and again to news distribution and consumption.  In 1997, Business Wire launched the industry’s multimedia news release to proactively supply journalists with photos or video embedded into the press release.  The birth of Webshots, SmugMug, Flickr and Yahoo! photos triggered a massive wave of photography creation and sharing, increasing consumer demand for media outlets to include multimedia in press releases.

In 2005, YouTube launched, providing for the first time, a central repository for videos and kicking off an unheard of amount of video creation, sharing and consumption.  Consumers and media embraced video so dramatically, it too triggered another shift within the media space. 2005 marked the beginning of the massive surge of interactive news – suddenly a traditional news article could be supplemented with company created videos, providing viewers a much deeper look at the company.

Since the birth of the World Wide Web, news consumption has sped up.   We are now in a 24/7 news cycle with news coverage including everything from an article, a tweet, a photo, a video and more.  And it is only going to get better.  We look forward to the movement towards wearable technologies,  faster data speeds and other new inventions and the impact they will have on this industry.  Bring it on, future! We are ready!


Business Wire Boston Finds a Unique Way to Give Back – One Casual Day at a Time

December 23, 2013

By Tim Ragan, Client Services Representative, Business Wire Boston

With the holidays breathing down everyone’s neck, it is impossible not to feel beat down. Here in the Boston Office, we can feel the heat of the season just like everyone else. In order to alleviate some insanity, our team has thought of a way to both enjoy the comforts of the holiday as well as providing a chance to give back.

The introduction of our Holiday Casual Days is a great way to make both our office and others happy as well.

Meet Business Wire Boston

Most people enjoy the relaxation of Friday, so why not extend that the weeks entering the holidays? For December, any colleague was able to pay $1 for a casual day and everyone in Boston broke out the jeans for a more casual Business Wire office!

An additional benefit from all of this fun, the money we collected has been donated in order to purchase numerous Disney princess items for a Kindergartener who has never experienced a Christmas morning. With this relaxing strategy, our colleagues were able to come together and do something rewarding during this season.

Donations from BW Boston

What holiday plans are in store for your office this year?


Business Wire Gives Back with Contribution to Journalism Scholarship

June 24, 2013
by Matt Allinson, International Media Relations Supervisor
Matthew Allinson

Matt Allinson

At the 2013 Western Washington chapter of the Society of Professional Journalist’s annual awards gala, Pacific Lutheran University journalism student Leah Traxel picked up a scholarship and recognition as an up-and-comer in the world of journalism. Business Wire was there and was honored to have the opportunity to contribute to the scholarship awarded to Ms. Traxel.

Ms. Traxel, a third year student, currently works part-time for The News Tribune (Tacoma) and is also the Journalism Team Leader for MediaLab, an on-campus multimedia agency and applied internship program. Upon completion of her degree at PLU, Ms. Traxel hopes to pursue post-graduate studies in digital media and would one day like to teach.

I had a chance to catch up with Ms. Traxel after the event and she was gracious enough to answer a few questions for us.

International Media Relations Supervisor Matt Allinson and scholarship winner Leah Traxel

International Media Relations Supervisor Matt Allinson and scholarship winner Leah Traxel

1) Who or what inspired you to study journalism and pursue it as a career?

I had no idea I wanted to be a journalist until I took a class from Robert Wells, a former journalist who saw my writing and asked if I had considered the field. I hadn’t, but I’ve always been a successful writer, and I knew I didn’t want to get stuck doing one thing over and over again as a career, so journalism seemed like a good option. Rob hooked me up with a couple of local weekly papers, and I started freelancing the fall of my sophomore year.

2) How can you and your generation help the journalism industry successfully transition into the digital world?

I really believe Marc Prensky hit the mark with his comparison of digital “natives” and “immigrants”. My generation is definitely one of natives, and as with any skill, it’s our responsibility to share it with previous generations. 

I think my generation can help journalism transition by working as an example of how citizens and journalists can work together to produce the best coverage. Citizen journalists on their own can be irresponsible, but journalists on their own are slowly becoming obsolete. I think the best course of action would be to utilize the strengths of both practices, and create relevant, accurate, and useful content for the public.

3) What will you be doing this summer?

This summer I am interning at The News Tribune and at PLU’s University Communications.

4) Where would you like to be seven years from now?

Seven years from now, I would like to be reporting on technology, and maybe using my background in math and computer science to do some technical writing.

5) If you were somehow able to capture the first verified photo of a Sasquatch while on a hike, where would you publish it first?

If I had the first photo of Sasquatch, I would probably publish it in National Geographic. However, I would only do that if it was determined that s/he could be a threat to public safety or if publication could prevent him/her from coming to harm. If s/he has gone to that much trouble to stay hidden for this long, it wouldn’t feel right to exploit him/her for personal gain or notoriety.

We wish Ms. Traxel the very best in her future endeavors and feel confident, with people like her in the profession, that journalism is in good hands moving forward.


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