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.”


BW Fun Fact: Business Wire Has Been Adding Multimedia to Press Releases for More Than a Decade

March 14, 2011

In 1997, Business Wire introduced the Smart News Release (SNR), which allowed users to embed photos, audio, video and other multimedia into press releases. Not only does multimedia help a press release stand out to reporters or readers, but it also increases the reach of a release in search engines. Although often overlooked, Google Images receives a huge amount of search traffic and can actually drive readers back to your release. Our research has found that releases with multimedia receive 1.7 times more reads than those without.

Back when we first introduced SNRs, clients would often provide us with hard-copy photos, which were then scanned by Business Wire editors to be made available in high resolution to media and web viewers. Today, we distribute hundreds of releases with multimedia every week.

Check out what some of our experienced editors have to say about how best to submit multimedia and best practices for writing photo captions.


BW Fun Fact: Business Wire Has Gone From 1 1/4 to 500+ Employees in 50 Years

March 4, 2011

BW founder & original employee Lorry Lokey

Business Wire opened its doors for business on October 2, 1961. At that time, there were 1 1/4 employees (founder Lorry Lokey was the full timer) and one office (in San Francisco) that has been described as the size of a broom closet. We didn’t open another office (Los Angeles) until 1967 & employed just 15 people at the end of the 1960s.

Today, Business Wire boasts more than 500 employees in 32 bureaus around the world, including 21 newsrooms staffed with the most accurate editors in the industry. We’ve definitely come a long way in 50 years!


BW Fun Fact: Five Years Ago Today, Business Wire Joined the Berkshire Hathaway Family

March 1, 2011

Celebrating our five-year birthday as a Berkshire Hathaway company on the occasion of our fiftieth anniversary year makes us want to run out and buy a lottery ticket with lots of “fives” as our quick picks.

From the 2009 Berkshire Hathaway company calendar

Just 60 short months ago, on March 1, 2006, Business Wire joined Warren Buffett’s family.

Employees learned of the pending deal on January 16, 2006, when founder Lorry Lokey sent a company-wide email coauthored by BW CEO Cathy Baron Tamraz with the subject line:   A Renaissance:   A re-birth for Business Wire.

The classicly coy email, kept many of us on the edge of our seats as Lorry waited until the eighth paragraph to inform us: 

“Many of you might have heard rumors these last few years that Business Wire might be for sale. It’s true that in order to ensure our future and continue what we’ve built, we have considered options such as a sale, merger, acquisition, etc.
I am pleased to announce that Business Wire has been sold to Berkshire Hathaway and its leader, Warren Buffett.”

At 8:55 AM Eastern Standard Time on March 1, 2006, the news broke on Business Wire (of course) that Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway had bought Business Wire, making it a wholly owned subsidiary.


BW Fun Fact: Business Wire was First to Launch Press Release Wire Service Website in 1995

February 25, 2011

We’ve come a long way since launching the first wire service industry website in 1995.    

The wayback machine provides the screenshot below, grabbed on Christmas Eve, 1996 .  At the time, this represented the pinnacle of web design with frame-based navigation and a whopping 48-hours of search.   Absent was flashing text, known in geek circles as a “blink tag.”

Today Business Wire’s distribution system and website manages thousands of press releases daily and syndication to countless partners in real time.  We boast a five-year search window.   Our patented N/X servers make it all possible.


BW Fun Fact: Business Wire’s Employee Matching Grants Channel Big Bucks to Charities

February 18, 2011

Business Wire’s charitable match program has channeled hundreds of thousands of dollars over the last decade to worthy nonprofit organizations of its employees’ choosing.

Yep, we are mighty proud that in keeping with the traditions of our parent company’s Chairman, Warren Buffett, and our founder, Lorry Lokey, generosity is part of the company culture.

Our benefits program has Business Wire matching employees’ donations to charitable causes anywhere from 50% to 100% over the years.

The tradition continues with the Business Wire Gives Back 2011 program, which launched this week in celebration of our 50th Anniversary.


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