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.

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

April 30, 2012

Upcoming Business Wire Events

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

Hosted by Business Wire London

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

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

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

Meet the Boston Media

Hosted by Business Wire Boston

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

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

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

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

Hosted by Business Wire Denver

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

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

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

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

Hosted by Business Wire Charlotte

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New England Communicators Discuss the News Pitch for Companies in the Emerging GreenTech Industry

November 10, 2009


What’s the best way to pitch your news to media covering the ever-evolving green technology industry?

According to Stephen Lacey, a journalist with Renewable Energy World, you should “think of the journalist as an investor.”  Indeed, the media invests time and effort in a company’s endeavors and projects the same way an investor would contribute funding.

This and other questions about the emerging green technology industry in New England and throughout the U.S. were discussed at a Business Wire Boston media breakfast held at the Westin Hotel in Waltham, Mass. on Thursday, Nov. 5.  About 75 public relations professionals from across New England attended the event, entitled “GreenTech, CleanTech and Pitching New Energy Technologies.”  Participants also collected hats, scarves and mittens for Cradles to Crayons, a Boston-based non-profit organization that distributes goods for children in need.

The panel included media professionals from print, radio and new media, as well as a market analyst to offer a more big-picture perspective.  The panelists, working in the renewable energy, green technology, and business spaces included (L to R):

Moderating the panel was Susan Vaillancourt, an accomplished PR professional in her own right.  Vaillancourt comes from great experience in the industry, having worked with large companies including GT Solar, a world-wide solar technology manufacturing corporation headquartered in Merrimack, NH.

Bottom line of the discussion?  The media is most definitely following companies working in biofuels, hydro power, wind and solar energy, and new efficiency technologies – but reporters need something to chew on.  Panelists agreed that directing them to a company’s news via an email with a personal touch, including a sentence or two about why the story is important, is generally the best way to get their attention.  This gives the journalist the opportunity to filter out their news angle from the press release text.  “Sometimes people are sitting on the story and they don’t even know it,” said Fitzgerald.

Also discussed were the wide range of coverage possibilities under the green/clean tech umbrella, including obvious “gee whiz” technologies, consumer product innovations, and new business ventures which have the added benefit of bringing jobs to the New England region.

The panelists also engaged in a discussion about how governmental policy effects the growth and direction of the industry, and how the U.S. stacks up against other world leaders such as China, which Lacey said currently has the largest solar market by far in the world.  The consensus was that the U.S. is on the way to the leader board, but further investment and leadership through policy is needed to increase the nation’s clout in the green space.

Local Business Wire offices host several events each year on PR, IR, SEO & media topics.  Check out the Business Wire Events page to find upcoming events in your area.

Follow Business Wire events on Twitter! Hash tag #bwevents

Boston-Area Investor Relations Professionals and Business Media Explain “Transparency” in an Increasingly Online Environment

June 16, 2009


Business Wire Boston hosted a breakfast event June 11, where investor relations and media relations professionals from across New England gathered to discuss best practices in corporate disclosure and how to manage the flow of information in the digital age.

The panel discussion, “Communications Strategies for the New Age of Corporate Transparency and Accountability,” focused on the meaning of disclosure as dictated by the SEC, the appearance of transparency versus actual accountability and the importance of simultaneously disclosing important financial news.

Boston June Event
Matt Kelly, Editor of Compliance Week, moderated the panel, which also included:

Among the key points made by the panel:

  • Ms. Gates explained that statements made online on websites and through mediums such as Twitter are still just as liable as press releases when it comes to classifying official company information, and those posts are therefore still regulated by the SEC. She stressed that IR professionals need to treat digital mediums like blogs and tweets with gravity.
  • Mr. Takazawa echoed Ms. Gates’ conservative view of disclosure explaining that many companies mistake detail for transparency and that to put too much information out there for investors will only dilute the message.
  • When embracing a social media policy, Mr. Takazawa again said it is important not to have too much “noise” and let communications get out of control. By limiting those with the authority to post information or speak to the press to a highly vetted few, communications can stay on message and not distract investors.
  • Mr. Pressman stressed the importance of simultaneous disclosure and the use of a primary newswire when disseminating financial news explaining that there are 5,000 companies he follows and he does not have time to go to thousands of websites each day looking for company news.
  • Mr. Quaratiello elaborated on the importance of disclosure and not “burying the facts,” noting that when the Boston Herald receives annual reports that have pages and pages of text, his team assumes the company has something to hide and reporters skip right to the notes section.
  • Mr. Pressman stressed the limitations of reporting on stories first posted via sites such as Twitter because of the lack of reputation and authority. Mr. Quarantiello, who described his publication as more of a tabloid at times, said his team tends to pick up more stories online these days. He said that a CEO on Twitter might be a scary thought for an IR professional, but from his standpoint, “we’ll eat it up.”

Local Business Wire offices host several events each year on PR, IR and media topics.  Check out the Business Wire Events page to find upcoming events in your area.

Follow Business Wire events on Twitter! Hash tag #bwevents


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