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!


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’s 50 Years of Innovation Timeline Invites Your Comments

July 14, 2011

by Laura Sturaitis, EVP Media Services & Product Strategy

In celebration of our 50th Anniversary, we’ve posted a timeline of the past five decades on our homepage at www.businesswire.com

It was a labor of love and almost an archaeological effort to gather the key milestones of our company.  The enormous task was made a bit easier by the fact that many of us have been here a while.   Milestones, trivia and details of some our finest moments combine to make the Business Wire timeline something to make us all proud.

All that’s missing are your comments.   We would love to hear your Business Wire story.  

Simply click on any of the “VIEW” icons and a comment box pops open, ready for your comments and insights.  You can also share the entire experience through your favorite social site. 

Business Wire:  50 years of innovation timeline

Here are some BW memories to get you started, including mine:
Business Wire opened its office in Miami in 1987. I started as the Florida Regional Manager in 1992. Today, I still work in the Florida office with three of the people who were there the day I started. I have so many great memories of the many coworkers, colleagues and clients who I have known throughout the years and am proud to say are my friends. 
 
Business Wire and I both turned 50 this year. I can’t even believe how lucky I am to have spent 20 of those years at BW. Sure, we have both grown and changed, but we both still hold the same fundamental values. I think I can speak for us both when I say we look forward to many, many more productive, interesting and successful years ahead.
 
From Jen Saragosa, Account Manager in Boston…
 
May, 1999: I was hired as an Account Executive in the Boston office and immediately loved advising  companies on their PR and IR strategies. Highlights in my twelve years include meeting original Business Wire owner (and philanthropist) Lorry Lokey and also current owner Warren Buffett.
 
It’s been a thrill to be part of an innovative company that was first to market with SEO, social media, mobile phones and numerous other technologies and tools – all that help PR and IR professionals be more productive and successful. Happy 50th Anniversary Business Wire -here’s to 50 more!
 
From Tom Becktold, Senior Vice President, Marketing in Los Angeles…
May, 1988 – I started @BusinessWire as an editor in the Los Angeles bureau.  I remember watching Kirk Gibson and the Dodgers win it all on the late shift. I honed my typing skills taking press release telephone dictates for breaking news of an off-shore oil rig explosion in the North Sea and experienced the immediacy of Business Wire’s impact by hearing the updates reported on the radio moments after sending the release.

C’mon, don’t be shy.  Let us hear from you today.  If you need more inspiration, check out the Business Wire 50th Anniversary video, too. 

 

BW Fun Fact: Business Wire Reaches Journalists With a Combo of High Tech and High Touch

May 20, 2011

When Business Wire launched it’s website in 1995 there was a lot of excitement around sending the press release via email to the media. Previously, all major media points received news from us through a satellite fed teleprinter while many others received local area or industry news via fax.

From the beginning we wanted to make it easy for journalists to see our news.  So we kept diversifying our news delivery options.  Today, our BW created and patented delivery platform–News Express–as well as hundreds of dual-hosted websites, RSS, FTP, Twitter feeds, mobile distribution and even some diehard fax subscriptions are among the channels our news arrives in newsrooms, and on desktops, tablets and the mobile phones of journalists, bloggers, financial analysts and news consumers globally.  None of these methods is more popular than our PressPass email delivery.

Our first customized email delivery product “Email Select” was limited to 500 email addresses and a short list of industry keywords.  This tight limit concerned Business Wire Founder, Lorry Lokey who monitored every journalist name and email address added to our new distribution list–presumably to remove anyone not worthy (though this never happened).

Today, tens of thousands of journalists are registered for our PressPass email service and yes they’re still vetted, verified and approved by a member of our media relations team.  How do we do it?

With unlimited choices for keyword search term selection and news customization, journalists are able to create and recieve feeds that are more targeted then ever.   Those enhancements in technology allow our team to focus on the relationship aspects of our role in the news process and keep the media and communications communities satisfied.

If you’re a member of the media and would like to subscribe to receive a customized news feed from Business Wire, you can register for PressPass or subscribe to our RSS or Twitter feeds or even subscribe to the BW Mobile site to view your custom feed on your mobile device.


BW Fun Fact: Business Wire Home to Double Jeopardy! Queens with Two Champs on Staff

April 5, 2011

If  Berkshire Hathaway companies were their own category on the long-running answer-and-question show Jeopardy, the answer to the clue “home of  TWO Jeopardy queens” would be  Business Wire.

Laura Sturaitis, Jeopardy champ, with Alex Trebek in 2002

Laura Sturaitis, Jeopardy champ, with Alex Trebek in 2002

Boasting our own “daily double,”  Business Wire’s team of 500+ employees includes two amazing women, running different departments, on opposite coasts.  Both have enjoyed competing and winning on Jeopardy.

Sandy Malloy leads our  information services department in San Francisco and won two games worth more than $10,000 back in 1989.  And Laura Sturaitis, Executive Vice President, Media Services and Product Strategy in Florida, won one of two games on the show back in December of 2002.  Also worth noting:  Sturaitis’ taping marked the first time the new Jeopardy set was revealed, “a very big deal at the time,” she says.

When she found out she would appear on the show, Sturaitis phoned Malloy for tips.  “She told me to start watching the game with a click pen in my hand to simulate the buzzer. That was really good advice.  Mastering the timing of that buzzer was the secret to getting in to answer versus being locked out for buzzing too soon,” she says.

Malloy says her only prep was to “look at a globe for awhile.” 

In the crazy coincedence department, Sturaitis was coached by her husband, Arch, who had appeared on Canadian TV’s teen quiz show,  Reach for the Top, hosted by none other than…a young emcee named Alex Trebek.  Trebek has hosted Jeopardy since 1984.

Malloy also had previous TV competition experience.  As a teenager she competed in the quiz program It’s Academic and appeared on a short-lived game show called The Challengers with Dick Clark.  There  she won  $850–“enough to buy a new TV, after putting money aside for taxes.” 

Says Sturaitis:  “I’ve been a media and communications professional for 25+ years, and at Business Wire now for 19,  but nothing I have accomplished has connected with people more than the last line of my bio where I reveal I am a Jeopardy Champion.”


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