Business Wire Spotlight: Meet Canada’s Emily Khazak

April 4, 2014
Welcome to Business Wire’s latest series, a behind the scenes introduction to our offices, and our staff from around the world.   Meet Emily Khazak, Business Wire Canada
Emily's-Photo-lo-res

Toronto Customer Service Representative Emily Khazak

 

Where are you from?
Toronto

When did you start working for Business Wire?
August 2011

So what do you do for Business Wire? Please sum up your role and responsibilities at Business Wire.
I am the Client Services Representative for both the Toronto and Calgary offices. I assist existing and prospective clients with inquiries and registrations. I am also a direct assist to the Account Executive team, helping with new business development.

What do you enjoy about your job?
I enjoy getting to interact with clients on a daily bases, making sure their registrations and release disseminations run as smoothly as possible.

What do you like about Business Wire?
The best part about working at Business Wire is the people! I love coming in to work each day knowing I’m part of an expert team, who are all passionate about what they do. I also love working for a company that excels in the newswire industry! The products and services we offer, as well as the attention given to each client, make me proud to be part of the Business Wire team.

Please give a brief summary of what you hope to accomplish for your department and Business Wire.
By assisting the Sales teams in both the Toronto and Calgary offices, I contribute to new business development and client retention. I hope to contribute to the growing offices by making sure all clients are well taken care of.

Tell us about yourself. (Your background, education, interests, hobbies, music, books, pets, family, etc)
I’ve always had an interest in media. I started writing at a young age and was sure I wanted to do something in the communications field, which lead me to a post secondary education in Journalism. I love reading and will always be found with a book, magazine, article – anything written!

What drives you to do what you do every day at Business Wire?
The best motivator is knowing that I’m part of a team that’s passionate about what they do and work hard to make sure every client that calls in gets the best service possible!

What is your favorite thing about living in Canada?
The weather!

Please give us some comments about the Canadian market and what Business Wire does that makes us a great fit in that market.
Business Wire has an exclusive partnership with the Postmedia Network and excellent Canada-wide distribution options. Our Canadian disclosure capabilities and specified circuits, including SEDAR filings, make us ideal for public companies. With offices in both Western and Eastern Canada, we have an expert team on hand no matter what part of the country a company is located.

What are some top reasons why you would recommend Business Wire to Canadian companies?
Business Wire’s Canada-wide and bilingual distribution options, including numerous trade publications, are ideal for getting any company’s news to the right outlets. With Business Wire’s NX technology and multimedia capabilities, turn around time for releases will be fast, accurate and visually appealing.


Six Simple Steps to Switch Your IR Site

October 16, 2013

By Ibrey Woodall, VP, Web Communications Services

Ibrey Woodall, VP, Web Communication Services

Ibrey Woodall, VP, Web Communication Services

Earlier this year, The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc. purchased the Corporate Solutions Division of Thomson Reuters which included their IR site hosting services. Recently, NYSE Euronext announced that it would discontinue financial subsidies for companies using these legacy services.

Needless to say, many companies are rapidly performing due diligence to find a new IR site hosting partner. Business Wire is pleased to be a preferred partner for NYSE, meaning qualified companies can easily switch their site hosting to our advanced InvestorHQ platform and continue to receive financial assistance.  In fact, we have helped several of those companies quickly and easily switch their investor center over to our secure, advanced InvestorHQ platform.

If you’re one of these companies and you worry about your IR site – don’t. Review the six simple steps we’ve laid out below, and let Business Wire guide you through the entire process.

  1. Schedule Launch
  2. Transfer Content
  3. Choose Categories
  4. Select Navigation
  5. Match design
  6. Go Mobile

These steps will help you understand what is involved so that your IR site can be converted quickly and cleanly.

1.       Schedule Launch

Anytime you begin a new project, you should visualize the desired end result first, and lay out a structured plan to achieve that outcome. Once we have established your required launch date, Business Wire will provide that plan, including a timeline featuring milestone dates that help us meet the deadline. If your corporate site is in the process of being redesigned, the redesign stage will also be incorporated into the timeline.

During this time, you will be trained on the easy-to-use content management system, and advised on best practices for important areas that span a variety of levels. Consultation will encompass the time zone of your IR site so dates and times post accurately, how your site will display in each of the latest web browsers, the importing of your contact database for email distribution, and the security of your content with access levels for individual site administrators.

2.       Transfer Content

Depending upon how long your company has been in business, you may or may not have a lot of content residing within your current IR site. All you need to do is let your assigned Business Wire HQ Specialist know which content you want to keep and where you want it located within the new site. Your HQ Specialist will physically move the content for you, expediting the launch of your IR site. If you are creating new content for new features and sections within Business Wire InvestorHQ, just send the content to your HQ Specialist for set up.

Not only will all future press releases distributed over Business Wire post automatically into the IR site, but more importantly, the releases will post directly. The distribution of Business Wire press releases and the Business Wire InvestorHQ Investor Center remain within the Business Wire framework, eliminating the need for a third-party wire release aggregator and decreasing the potential of a lost or delayed press release. There are cost-savings, workflow efficiencies and security inherent to using one partner for both services.

GraceIRScreenShot

3.       Choose Categories

Content should be categorized so that it is readily accessible for site visitors. Not only should press releases be available by date, but also by topic or subject matter.  For example, note that CKE Restaurants (http://investor.ckr.com) created categories entitled “Financial Releases,” “CKE,” “Carl’s Jr.,” and “Hardees,” so that their press releases are organized by parent company and brand, yet still allow investors and analysts to locate and access financial releases quickly.

Events and presentations should also be categorized even as commonly as “Past Events” and “Future Events,” as displayed on the W.R. Grace investor center (http://investor.grace.com) when future dates are available. If your company has multiple events, you may consider fine-tuning with classifications like “Webcasts,” “Board Meeting,” “Analyst Day,” or “Press Conference.”

4.       Select Navigation

There are certain types of content, including Analyst Coverage, Stock Charts, SEC Filings, Executive Biographies and additional Corporate Governance documents that should be available within every investor center. Your navigation structure should reflect those content types, and your HQ Specialist will present each of these content types to you and order the navigation in a pattern that best suits your company’s needs.

5.       Match Design

Site visitors need to be able to visually trust that the IR site contains official company data. This is done by following the same fonts, colors, spacing and other design elements that reflect the identity of the corporation. It can also be done by using the company’s domain name within the uniform resource locator (URL) similar to http://investor.chemtura.com or http://ir.standex.com, as well as linking to the IR site from an “Investor Relations” navigation button located on the corporate site. We recommend that the investor center follow the same design as the corporate site, positioning all branding available, even down to the “From” identifier on email alerts and broadcasts.

6.       Go Mobile.

As mobile usage increases dramatically, it is imperative that sites are easily accessible by a mobile audience. Business Wire offers mobile-optimized IR websites that are legible when accessed by smartphones and tablets of varying screen sizes.

When it comes to news distribution, hosting and consumption, it is worth noting that Business Wire has been around for more than 53 years and provides a multitude of financial disclosure services. Partner with Business Wire and stop worrying about your IR site.

For more information on the “must-haves” and “should-haves” for an IR site, we suggest reading: IR Sites: A Guide to Requirements and Best Practices white paper.


What are the Most Common Errors our Editors Catch in Your Press Releases?

September 4, 2013

If there’s one thing our customers are almost universally in agreement about, it’s how fantastic our editors are. In our more than 20 newsrooms around the world, our eagle-eyed staff are constantly on the lookout for little errors that might otherwise go unnoticed during the press release writing and approval process. When they find them, they immediately alert the sender before we transmit the release, saving many an error from appearing in media inboxes, on social media or anywhere else.

The data bears it out – Business Wire issues far, far fewer corrections than any other wire services.

According to our internal reports, here — in no particular order — are the ten most frequent catches by our editors in your press releases:

1) Wrong day/date/time zone agreement.
2) Bad or broken hyperlinks.
3) Inconsistent references to the same company, people or product names.
4) Wrong usage of similar sounding words; e.g. their/there, then/than, effect/affect, and so on.
5) Wrong dates or old info recycled from a previous version of the release.
6) Apostrophe and possessive errors like “it’s” vs. “its.”
7) Company name missing in headline.
8) Footnotes referenced but not included in the release.
9) Improper use of quotation marks.
10) Missing or incomplete contact info and/or photo captions.

You should always make sure your release is as complete and as correct as possible before submitting it, but if anything slips through, we’ll be there to catch it!


Le Diable Est Dans les Détails : How the Business Wire Paris Team Checks and Balances News

December 18, 2012
by Manuela Semenzin, Media Relations Specialist,Business Wire/Paris
Manuela Semenzin

Manuela Semenzin

Luca Sofri, a well-known Italian blogger and journalist (founder and editor of the online newspaper Il Post, 2010), has curated for several years a weekly column inside his blog, Wittengstein.it, called “Notizie che non lo erano” (News that wasn’t).

Each week he points the finger at a few news stories published by Italian newspapers without any fact-checking. These stories are often revealed to be hoaxes.

Sofri’s approach to news reporting is nothing extraordinary. Many entities in France (and the world over) advocate thorough verification of information before publishing it.

As David Brewer says in his article “The importance of fact-checking for journalists“, reporters should always apply the “two reliable sources rule”, where one source is often represented by the wires. But he also notes that “wires can be wrong” and journalists should not rely on them blindly.

Of course, error is always possible when publishing hundreds of thousands of releases per year. That’s why announcements crossing a professional wire undergo a rigorous series of checks and quality-control measures before being released to the public.

I asked our Newsroom Supervisor in Paris, Jacky Ringot, to provide details about what editors do each time they receive a new press release from a client in order to avoid mistakes.

“First of all, we are responsible for authenticating the source of releases,” said Ringot, “So we verify who is sending the release via our secured platform.”

Jacky Ringot, Newsroom Supervisor, BW Paris

Jacky Ringot, Newsroom Supervisor, BW Paris

Ringot went on to explain that our clients possess personal codes to access our secured online system, which means that they have already opened an account and have gone through verification by the sales department.

“But double-checking is our motto,” noted Ringot, “So we verify once again. If contact information consists of a company name, an individual name and a phone number, we check the connection between the contact and the company issuing the release. We call the person, we ask for his/her e-mail and verify that it’s a professional address.

“If a website is included we check it and verify that its content is appropriate,” Ringot continued. “We read the entire press release and if the content is questionable we escalate with management. If a release includes previously published articles from newspapers, magazines or other sources approval must be given in writing by the original source of the article.

“We also escalate issues of photo copyright or possibly objectionable images. We check hyperlinks, dateline, spelling, tables, everything! Your Luca Sofri would have an incredibly hard time trying to catch us out.”

This combination of highly secured technology with human action is a key element here at Business Wire France, and this is also true for each of the newsrooms we have around the world. While no system is entirely fail-safe, we are always working to reduce the risk through a series of checks and balances. We know what is at stake for our customers because their news moves the market and a little error can have very important consequences.


Upcoming Local Events: November 2012

October 24, 2012

Next month, three of our local offices bring you great events with top media experts to keep you up to date on the latest trends and topics:

On Friday, Nov. 9, Business Wire/Florida presents Online Newsroom Best Practices for Communicators. Ibrey Woodall, our Vice President of Web Communications, moderates a panel that includes Rick Hirsh of the Miami Herald and Bill Faries of Bloomberg News. To register for this free event, please RSVP to Julia Sotelo by Nov. 2.

On Wednesday, Nov. 14, Business Wire/Charlotte will travel to Durham to host A 360° View of Social Media. A panel including Meg Crawford of SAS, Claire Spina-Russell of Quintiles and Gavin O’Hara of Lenovo will discuss how to effectively garner coverage from today’s new media, such as blogs, social media, video and smartphone applications.  This is event is free for Business Wire members and $20 for non-members; to register contact Christine Ruel by Nov. 9.

Also on Nov. 14, Business Wire/San Francisco hosts The 24-Hour News Cycle and the Evolving Newsroom. Christopher Noble of MarketWatch, Mike Isaac of All Things Digital, Alex Wellins of The Blueshirt Group and Louise Kehoe of Ogilvy PR will provide a look at the modern news cycle and the effects that changes in media and the elimination of deadlines have had on the timing of news and the accuracy of reporting. To register for this free event, please contact SFRSVP@businesswire.com.

Be sure to check our Events Calendar for other upcoming local events and webinars, and to follow @businesswire and #bwchat on Twitter for live tweets from our events!


Local Coverage Can Transcend the Community it Serves

May 11, 2012

by Molly Pappas, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire Boston

Last Thursday, over 100 PR and communications professionals attended Business Wire Boston’s media panel breakfast event focused on the ever-changing media landscape.  Panelists from the Boston Business Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Boston Herald, Patch.com and Mass High Tech discussed how news is changing in a digital environment, ways publications measure success and the differing views on paywalls.

Panelists included Frank Quaratiello, Boston Herald’s business editor, George Donnelly, executive editor at Boston Business Journal, Mass High Tech’s newest associate editor, Don Seiffert, associate regional editor of Patch.com, Abby Jordan, and Leigh Montgomery, Christian Science Monitor’s librarian.  Business Wire’s own Sanford Paek, Group Vice President of Eastern U.S. and Canada, served as moderator.

L-R: Sanford Paek, Frank Quaratiello, George Donnelly, Abby Jordan, Leigh Montgomery, Don Seiffert

Here are some of the highlights from the discussion:

News changing in a digital environment:

  • Digital formatting has changed the way in which the media address their audience.  In terms of storytelling, the visual experience online can be interesting.  Donnelly says the Boston Business Journal runs two to three slideshows a week.
  • The Boston Herald has played around with its homepage and moved the video player there, and has since seen a dramatic increase on time spent on the site.  Videos bring in about 180,000 views.
  • Digital environments have brought about a different world of immediacy to Jordan and her Patch.com team.  They do not wait for an end-of-the-day deadline like print publications; instead, they are continually updating their sites, usually five to seven times a day.  “The site is not just for people to consume, but to interact with,” says Jordan.  For example, people can upload their own events on the site for display.
  • “We need to put aside old media/new media; it’s just media,” says Montgomery.  In 2009, the Christian Science Monitor was the first international publication to drop its daily print and move to a Web daily only.  They still adhere to a publishing schedule, but she says they have more flexibility to publish throughout the day online (usually 30 stories per day).
  • Seiffert has found that the length of stories and deadlines are affected by the digital environment.  “There are losses to the digital age.  You lose the ability to report longer, more well-crafted stories,” he says.

Measuring success:

  • Patch.com is unique in that it does not have a print subscription number to base its success on.  “We are the new kids on the block.  We measure success on the number of unique visitors on the site, the number of comments on a story, how our readers interact with the site,” Jordan says.
  • For Quaratiello and the Boston Herald, circulation of print product is an obvious measure of success.  But it’s also about the visitors online, who are building a community and using the Herald as a “meeting place” of sorts.  The Herald has helped create a forum, engaging the paper and its readers.
  • As an online publication, the Christian Science Monitor can draw on a lot of online usage data, such as quizzes, to monitor success.  The core, however, is solution seeking, Montgomery says.  When a story is being discussed and you hear and see it in conversation, that is considered a measure of success.
  • While the Boston Business Journal has really embraced analytics, they try not to allow it to be the sole decision maker on the news they cover and publish.  “We want to give people as much as we can in an interesting way,” says Donnelly.
  • For Seiffert, there is a constant struggle between balancing context and ‘hits.’  “We measure success on Tweets, join/follows on Facebook, the most read and most emailed articles.  But there is a danger of losing the personal connection,” he says.

Paid content vs. free:

  • “Readers aren’t tired of free news, the newspapers are tired of giving out free news,” says Seiffert.
  • “I do not think paid online subscriptions will be successful.  It’s just not going to pay the bills,” says Quaratiello.  Donnelly, however, disagrees.  He sees the tide turning in the other direction, and believes that it’s necessary. “Newspapers are realizing that readers need to subsidize revenue.  Newspapers are dispersing news worth paying for.  Valuable news shouldn’t be free,” he argues.
  • Patch.com has not looked at a paywall.  They use metrics to get advertisers, thus bring in revenue.
  • Because of the Christian Science Monitor’s multiplatform model (Internet first and paid print subscriptions), Montgomery believes the publication will be self-sustaining by 2017 because of the revenue they bring in.

The panelists ended the event with a few quick pointers on how they like to be pitched:

  • Seiffert always likes to talk to someone directly.  However, if that isn’t possible, provide links or pointers to other primary sources he can contact.
  • “When we get information, our day begins.  It’s frustrating and annoying when someone sends in a release at 5, then leaves and we can’t get them on the phone,” Quaratiello says.
  • Both Jordan and Donnelly are happy to accept photos, but he advises that they be no more than 1 megabyte.  Editors and reporters are weary of opening photo attachments because they can cause computers to freeze or shut down.

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.


Local Bureau, National Media: Four Major Outlets Tell PR Professionals How to Get Their Attention

May 9, 2012

by Andrea Gillespie, Account Executive, Business Wire Chicago

With Chicago being the third largest media market in the US, many national media contacts call The Windy City home. Whether their beat is the entire Midwest or specific industry groups, knowing who’s who in the Chicago national media scene can earn you more placements. In April, Business Wire hosted some of these national news gatekeepers to learn what types of pitches stand out and how to get national attention for your company or client.

Cheryl Corley, National Desk Correspondent, NPR

Based in NPR’s Chicago Bureau, Cheryl Corley travels primarily throughout the Midwest, covering issues and events from Ohio to South Dakota as a National Desk reporter.

Pitch tips:
  • Cheryl is interested in stories that have a national or at least a broad Midwestern scope.  If a story is too focused on one specific state or city, she will refer the person to the local station.
  • Because of the radio format, she is not as interested in video. Adding still photography is helpful to create interest in your pitch, but no attachments.
  • The librarians for NPR are frequently called upon by NPR correspondents to do research for stories, so they are good contacts to have. They regularly scour and post queries to social media sites for experts.
Jason Dean, Chicago Bureau Chief, The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires

Jason Dean oversees coverage of subjects including economic, political and cultural developments in the Midwest; national education issues; the agriculture and foods business; the airline and aerospace industries; and key financial exchanges.

Pitch tips:
  • Jason prefers personal pitches – just plugging his name into an email that went to a large group of people doesn’t fool him.
  • He also suggests doing research to identify which WSJ/Dow Jones reporter covers your industry. The Chicago Bureau does not cover all Chicago companies. For example, Chicago tech companies are covered by the San Francisco bureau.
  • Pitch visuals. With every story they cover, they consider what type of video component can be added to it. While they prefer to shoot their own video, it’s helpful to include a link to b-roll or your spokesperson in action in your pitch. He requests links only – no attachments.

Andy Fies, Producer, ABC News

Great crowd at the BW Chicago event!

Andy Fies is one of two producers based in ABC’s Midwest Bureau covering stories for World News with Diane Sawyer,Good Morning America, Nightline and ABCNews.com. His primary area of responsibility is news of national interest from the nation’s heartland.
Pitch tips:
  • Andy is interested in covering stories from all Midwestern companies, but he is mostly drawn to those that show how people on the street are being affected. They want to put a personal view into every story they cover.
  • As ABC recently merged with Yahoo! News, consider the digital version of your story. This means photos and visuals of your story are necessary.
Greg Stricharchuk, Editor, Sunday Business Section, The Chicago Tribune

As an editor in the business news section, Greg Stricharchuk works with reporters and helps conceptualize and edit their stories. He’s also specifically responsible for the Sunday business section.

Pitch tips:
  • While you can copy Greg on your pitches to reporters, it’s best to read the paper and know who writes about your topic. Pitch them directly first.
  • Greg is mainly interested in publicly held companies – not so much private companies or organizations, unless they are starting an industry trend or obtaining significant funding.
  • Don’t pitch experts 2-3 days after a story breaks. Oftentimes, stories are starting to form days before the actual news breaks. Get your expert pitches to the appropriate editor before that happens.
  • Remember that the Tribune is comprised of six newspapers, online sites and TV stations. Pitches that show how the story can cross all mediums are typically well-received.
Thanks again to all of our clients and the communications professionals who were able to join us.
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.

Tips for Your Business Meeting with a Japanese Company

December 16, 2011
by Ai Arakawa, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/Tokyo
Ai Arakawa, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/Tokyo

Ai Arakawa

Different people have different customs, and you might think that the uniqueness of Japanese customs is outstanding or exotic.

Robin Pharo, who, after working for a Tokyo IT department, penned an article in JAPAN TODAY about the Japanese and their “entirely different” meeting style compared to their American counterparts, is awed by the seriousness and formal structure of meeting in Japan.  And it’s true – the Japanese could make the business meeting formal in a harmonious and respectful mood.  

I’d like to introduce some tips that might help you at your visits with Japanese companies on your business trips.

Meeting time

It’s important to arrive on time, or five minutes earlier than the meeting’s start time, as Japanese value punctuality. If you arrive late, call your contact person as soon as possible and announce your estimated arrival time. However, it’s another story for the meeting’s closing time. Meetings in Japan often exceed the allotted time, expanding on various topics including non-business related talks, so it’s best practice not to schedule back-to-back meetings.

Appropriate attire for business meetings

Even though this certainly depends on with whom you are meeting (CEO or ordinary employee), it’s safest to wear a suit (with tie for men). But in recent years, thanks to the government’s energy saving campaign “Cool Biz” for summer and “Warm Biz” for winter, the dress code at the business meeting has become more relaxed. This is particularly the case this year as many companies try to save electricity to avoid the power shortages that could have been caused by the great earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku region earlier this year.

Bowing and the seat you take in the meeting room

When you visit and meet your client, your contact person may bow instead of shaking hands, as Japanese people frequently bow when meeting others or thanking or apologizing to someone.

Also, your client may pay attention to where you sit down. The seat furthest away from the entrance is called “kamiza” and it is reserved for the most important person in the room. As the guest, you may be taken to this “kamiza” seat with respect. It is expected that you take the seat if it is offered to you.

Exchanging Business cards

Exchanging business cards

Japanese values the meishi (business card) exchange as the time of formal self-introduction. The person with higher title exchanges the card with the more senior person of the other company first. Then the persons with lesser titles will exchange cards. Introducing your company name and your own name with a bow, hand your card out and receive the other one with both of your hands.

Do not put the given card away in your card case or in the pocket of your jacket, keep it out on the table during the meeting. Writing something on the given card is not recommended — take good care of the card with respect as if it was an extension of him/her.

Any gifts to bring?

Offering a gift is not a strict tradition as is often thought. It would be nice timing to bring a gift if your visit occurs during either of the two gift giving seasons: One is “ochugen,” the season from the beginning to the middle of July; and another is “oseibo,” which is the season from the beginning to 25th of December. People and companies exchange gifts during these periods to express continuing gratitude.

If the meeting person doesn’t unpack your gift, don’t think he/she doesn’t like it, as there is a code of conduct and it’s rude to check what it is in front of the client.

These are just a part of Japanese business manners. Your client should understand that they are meeting with non-Japanese visitors, so do stress over following these guidelines precisely, but just enjoy the communication with your client. That’s what matters most.


Local News Sites Going Facebook Only? Press Releases Need Local Hook to be Utilized

April 11, 2011

Last month, Maryland community blog Rockville Central moved to a Facebook only format. The decision attracted media attention from a number of journalism sites including Nieman Journalism Lab and Media Bistro’s Social Times among others. Business Wire’s media relations team spoke to Editor Cindy Cotte Griffiths in a  recent Q & A that explores this innovative move and how press releases fit in.

Cindy Cotte Griffiths, Editor of Rockville Central on Facebook

Cindy Cotte Griffiths, Editor of Rockville Central on Facebook

Business Wire: What has been the initial reaction from the Rockville Central community?

Cotte Griffiths:   Although some people expressed dismay on the website before the move, the initial reaction has been extremely positive on Facebook. Our active users have increased by over 500% and our base continues to grow each day. We are seeing many new people interacting and commenting on the site which has always been our primary goal.

Business Wire: Do you think other media outlets will follow your lead?

Cotte Griffiths: Yes, we do. We’ve already heard of a local newspaper which has informed its staff that it will be shifting entirely to Facebook. However, sites which intend to take advantage of the projected increases in local online advertising probably would not be in a position to shift entirely to Facebook, since Facebook does not offer a revenue sharing arrangement.

Some other interesting developments in the online media world include TechCrunch only allowing comments with a Facebook account, and Warner Bros. making films available on Facebook with Facebook Credits. Meanwhile, big print news outlets are setting up paywalls. Currently, Facebook takes a 30% cut of revenues from sales by third parties using Credits, so perhaps the news world and Facebook Credits might be combined someday.

 Business Wire: What makes an effective press release in your opinion?

Cotte Griffiths: For us, a press release needs to be location-based since we will only report on Rockville, Md.   We’re willing to include stories about organizations or businesses which are on the forefront of their fields since we like to highlight all the great things produced in our community. So for example, if a biotech company cured a disease or an organization started a successful worldwide program, we would be willing to share the story to emphasize what makes our community special.

For more information about PressPass and Business Wire’s other journalist tools, contact our media relations team at Media.Relations@BusinessWire.com.


Sorting the Real from the Fake: Credibility Matters

October 22, 2010

by Neil Hershberg, Senior Vice President, Global Media for Business Wire

 

Neil Hershberg

Neil Hershberg, SVP - Global Media

 

Recent news stories on companies victimized by false press releases, fake news stories and bogus web sites describe the perpetrators as “pranksters,” and  dismiss their actions as “spoofs” and “stunts.”

According to my dictionary, the more appropriate term for activities that deliberately seek to deceive others is FRAUD.  And when those actions affect the capital markets, the regulatory authorities are likely to weigh in with their own lengthy lexicon of legal definitions that will put this important issue in its proper perspective.

Several well-known companies have recently been traumatized by a troubling trend known as  “corporate PR hijacking.”  These elaborate campaigns have included fake press releases complete with quotes attributed to actual company executives, counterfeit web sites, and fake news stories appearing on phony sites masquerading as legitimate, well-known news outlets. Companies that reportedly have fallen prey to disinformation tactics include BP, Halliburton, Dow Chemical, Exxon Mobil and, most recently, Chevron.

Bona fide media organizations have unwittingly become trapped in this bewildering “House of Mirrors,” conveying erroneous information to the marketplace. These so-called stunts have a habit of snowballing, gaining dangerous momentum that can do irreparable harm.

The issue of fake PR is one that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, and it remains to be seen if marketers and agencies can figure out a way to effectively combat the seemingly greater number of individuals who seem eager to participate in such efforts,” observed Advertising Age.

The challenge of separating fact from fiction on the web certainly isn’t new.

Paul Boutin, writing in The New York Times, said it best:  “On the Internet, every day is April Fool’s Day.” [March 31, 2010]

While portrayed in media accounts as a creative way for critics to convey their message, the reality is that corporate PR hijacking has real victims and unintended consequences.

  • Corporate reputation is a company’s most prized asset. These surreptitious attacks have the potential to cause monumental damage;
  • The integrity of all media is at risk as false information is unintentionally disseminated;
  • Valuations of public companies can be affected as the market reacts to erroneous reports.

In other words, we’re past the point of simple pranks, stunts and spoofs. We’re talking serious business, with major implications for all market participants.

Under these circumstances, the trusted role of Business Wire as a credible news source is more important than ever.

While no organization is totally infallible, Business Wire combines proprietary technology with the largest editorial staff in the industry to deliver some 1,000 stories daily over its patented news delivery platform to the global media, the investment community, and consumers.

Business Wire Connect, our web-based order entry system, enables us to authenticate and validate all issuers. It has been operational since 1998, and is continuously enhanced and upgraded. Our network systems and editorial workflow procedures are independently audited on an annual basis by the world’s leading accounting firms, a mandatory requirement for re-certification as a sanctioned regulatory disclosure service in multiple jurisdictions.

We also realize, however, the limits of technology and that there is no substitute for human intelligence. We have a seasoned staff of close to 200 editors worldwide who vet copy prior to distribution. We are proud to boast that we have the highest editorial accuracy rate in the industry.

While several of our competitors have recently introduced “do-it-yourself” platforms, our goal is be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem. There is enough misinformation floating around without our providing yet another pass-through conduit.

Based on our almost half-century performance standards, Business Wire has earned its reputation for credibility in news rooms and trading houses worldwide. In fact, the world’s leading financial information platforms and international news agencies allow us to “auto-publish” our content directly on to their systems, a true testament to our enviable track record.

We appreciate that everyone is understandably mindful of costs these days — as are we. It is especially important, however, to factor in the priceless value of credibility, reliability and trust in any deliberation, qualities that are of paramount importance in today’s chaotic information environment.


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