Business Wire Gives Back: Charlotte Staffers Support Library through Rock & Read 5K Run

November 15, 2011

Established in 1982, the Friends of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, its collections, programs and services. Recent budget difficulties have highlighted the need for the community to come together in assisting local government to maintain traditional levels of service throughout the library system.

The Friends’ mission is to support the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library as a vocal advocate before elected officials, community leaders and citizens at large and to raise funds to help achieve a level of excellence. The Friends’ 2nd Annual Rock & Read 5K Run/Walk is a fun community initiative to help raise awareness and funds for the community libraries. Katie McKiever, new (and former) CH editor, is on the Friends of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library board and was co-chair on the planning committee for the 5K.

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This year’s event had 300 runners and raised $20,000 that will be used specifically towards supplementing the library’s book collections. The Rock & Read 5K utilized dozens of volunteers from the area who were vital in helping make the event a success.

Cedric Tillman, CH newsroom supervisor, was one of those volunteers. The event was fun for all ages. The race started and finished in front of Charlotte’s Scaleybark library branch. Rufus, the Charlotte Bobcats NBA mascot, and Chubby, the Charlotte Checkers Hockey team mascot were in attendance along with a number of food vendors and the U.S. National Whitewater Rafting Center.

Find out more: http://cmlibraryfriends.org/

Photos courtesy of Bryan Bazemore Photography (http://bryanbazemorephotography.blogspot.com/)


BW50: Without You, There is No Us

October 24, 2011
by Gregg Castano, President, Business Wire

Gregg Castano, President, Business Wire

As part of Business Wire’s 50th anniversary celebration, Business Wire held a cocktail reception in San Francisco, the city of our founding in 1961, at the Palace Hotel in downtown SF on Thursday, October 13.

I had the honor of delivering brief remarks to the assembled throng of about 200 or so clients, partners, friends and colleagues.  Since we couldn’t invite all of you to this event, I wanted to share the substance of those remarks via this posting, because the sentiments expressed there apply to all Business Wire offices, clients, partners, friends and colleagues worldwide:

Business Wire is really a story of the local kid who made good.  On October 2, 1961, in San Francisco, Business Wire was founded by Lorry I. Lokey, a former journalist and PR professional, and a man with vision, perseverance and a firm belief in an IDEA.  While Lorry may be unfamiliar to many of you of a certain generation and outside of the Bay Area, after the sale of Business Wire to Berkshire Hathaway in 2006, he has gone on to become one of the world’s leading philanthropists and a significant participant in the Warren Buffett-Bill Gates “Giving Pledge” campaign.

Business Wire President Gregg Castano

Gregg Castano addresses attendees of Business Wire's 50th Anniversary event in San Francisco

While we have held similar celebrations across the United States this month in honor of our 50th anniversary, including ringing the Opening Bell at the New York Stock Exchange on September 30th with Warren Buffett, the simple fact that this celebration was being held in San Francisco made it a unique and poignant event for us – because this is where it all began. In fact, in another indication of our deep San Francisco roots, our current CEO, Cathy Baron Tamraz, began her Business Wire career as an editor in our San Francisco office more years ago than she will permit me to divulge.  And though based in New York, Cathy still maintains an oft-visited office in our co-Headquarters on Montgomery Street in the SF financial district. As the icing on the cake, in recognition of those humble SF beginnings and what ensued over the next half century, the Honorable Edwin Lee, Mayor of San Francisco, officially proclaimed Oct 2 to be Business Wire Day in that city.

So how did we get from there – October 2, 1961 – to here?

Without embarking on a Business Wire 101 history lesson, let’s just say that from Day 1, Business Wire was imbued with the spirit with which we were founded. One that enabled us to defy long odds to grow from a tiny local Bay Area experiment to a global leader in the communications industry, which became so accomplished that it attracted the attention of the world’s most respected investor, Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett.

Throughout the years, that spirit has driven us to be disruptors (the good kind), first movers and innovators in a highly competitive environment in which change is rapid, unforgiving and inexorable.

Here are just a few examples of this:

  • Business Wire was the first newswire to transmit releases via satellite, rather than teletype, which at the time was revolutionary.
  • While, unlike Al Gore, we didn’t actually invent the Internet, we did figure out some pretty good uses for it. Such as:
  1. We were the first wire with its own website.
  2. We were the first wire to send news simultaneously to both the media and the investment community in the wake of Reg FD.
  3. We were the first – and only – wire to be awarded both a US and Canadian patent for our Internet-based news delivery platform – N/X.
  4. And for good measure, we also were recently awarded a patent for our Search Engine Optimization technology.

While technology is at the heart of Business Wire, we’ve always recognized that its soul is our people.  We know that people are the keys to success and the ones who establish and perpetuate any company’s reputation. So we take great care in selecting people who represent the values we most cherish – knowledgeable and people-oriented men and women who possess an abundance of honesty, integrity, professionalism and a customer-first attitude.

When you combine folks with those characteristics with our technological prowess and a passion for breaking new ground, you get success.  You get – Business Wire.

However, there is an additional, essential piece to this puzzle.  It’s YOU, our customers and business partners.  We know that without you, there is no Us.

So the recent celebration in San Francisco, and elsewhere, wasn’t just the marking of a milestone in the passage of time, but was also a commemoration of a tremendously successful, 50 year long partnership between Business Wire, its customers and its business partners.

We thank you all for being part of this fabulous 50 year ride – and we hope you will be with us for the next 50!


Business Wire Gives Back: Teaching Piano to Share Love for the Arts

June 23, 2011

by Amy Yen, Marketing Specialist, Business Wire Los Angeles

Marketing Specialist Amy Yen teaches piano to Lourdes Mack for CoachArt

For the past 18 months, I’ve been volunteering with CoachArt, a Los Angeles based organization that improves the quality of life for children and adolescents with chronic and life-threatening illnesses by providing free, personal lessons in the arts and athletics. CoachArt students are matched with a volunteer coach and receive private lessons one hour a week for ten weeks at a time. Lessons can include art, cooking, dance, music and athletics, depending on the student’s interests.

I’ve taught computer graphics and art in the past, but for our 50th Anniversary BW Gives Back program, I’m teaching piano to eight-year-old Lourdes Mack from Culver City. It’s been a challenge since I haven’t played piano in years. In fact, my parents sold our piano when I left for college. CoachArt is loaning Lourdes a keyboard for the duration of the sessions, and I’ve been using a piano app on my iPad to prep for our lessons.

So far, we’ve been learning a mixture of classics like “Ode to Joy” and Disney favorites like “Someday My Prince Will Come.” It’s been a joy teaching Lourdes, whose positive attitude is an inspiration. I was lucky to have seven years of piano lessons growing up and am happy to share a little of what I learned, especially with a student as deserving and eager as Lourdes.

In honor of its 50th Anniversary, Business Wire is giving back by providing each of its 500+ employees up to 12 hours of paid time off in 2011 to volunteer with the nonprofit of their choice. Read more about what BW employees are doing to give back.

Read more about CoachArt and check out Lourdes’s blog.


April in Omaha: My Invitation to 2011 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting

May 6, 2011
by Deb Subia, Editorial Process Development Manager, Business Wire

Deb Subia


A dozen lucky Business Wire employees from several U.S. bureaus and London joined CEO Cathy Baron Tamraz in Omaha for the 2011 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting.  I was thrilled to be one of them.

Never having been, I was anxious to attend the meeting – okay, experience the EVENT – I had heard and read so much about over the years. I had heard so much of the “Berkshire Buzz” and the celebratory nature of the event!

Business Wire has long been known as a company with a family atmosphere.  I had the sense being around other Berkshire Hathaway companies that I was part of an even bigger family.

Selling show-themed passport booklets that included “smashed” pennies with images of Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, the Annual Meeting date, and Business Wire’s 50thAnniversary crest to raise money for a local youth charity, CASA for Douglas County, Nebraska, was quite an experience.  It’s not every day you hear a co-worker say, “You want to get Warren’s head smashed on a penny?” Thanks to generous attendees, Business Wire sold out of passport booklets, raising more than $5,500 for CASA, all while having a lot of laughs and meeting some great people.

Cathy Baron Tamraz, Warren Buffett and Business Wire CTO Steve Messick operating the penny press

I was surprised at the diversity of the shareholders and delighted with the young investors-to-be who came by our booth.  One told me it was his first time attending and he was “so excited and overwhelmed and wanting to take everything in at the same time.”  I think he summarized the way many first-timers felt. Certainly learning early about ethics and patience in investing will leave a lasting impression.

The piece of advice I’ll most remember came from Charlie Munger and was about not making important decisions in anger: “You can always tell a man to go to hell tomorrow.”

I was impressed with Buffett’s smile, busy schedule and ability to handle questions hour after hour.  Coupled with the fact that he’s 80 years old, it is mind-boggling.  I’m  seriously considering adding a steady stream of Coke and See’s Candies to my diet.

The Business Wire 2011 Berkshire Hathaway Meeting booth crew

Overall, what I most took away surprised me. It was more universal than investment advice: passion for what you do, the desire to learn more all the time, the importance of becoming a better communicator, patience.  Buffett, at the core, is a teacher as well as an investor.

See more photos from the 2011 Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder’s Meeting at our Facebook page.


Business Wire Gives Back: BW Staff Goes Back to School to Help Students Find Success

March 24, 2011

Business Wire’s 50th Anniversary celebration this year features the BW Gives Back volunteer program, which affords employees the opportunity to “go to work” in their communities for the educational or charitable organizations that mean the most to them.

Laura Sturaitis addresses the Job Search Boot Camp at St. Thomas University, Miami, FL

Executive Vice President Laura Sturaitis spent last Thursday sharing her time and expertise with job seekers among the students, alumnae and members of the general public at her alma mater St. Thomas University in Miami, FL.  Sturaitis served as a panelist at St. Thomas’s Job Search Boot Camp.  Her presentation, “Developing and Managing Your Professional Online Brand,” sparked a lively discussion.

Business Wire Executive Vice President Laura Sturaitis

Many Business Wire staff, including Laura, regularly speak to college PR and Communications students as guest lecturers on a variety of industry topics from Writing for the Web to What is the Wire?  These talks help students prepare for and excel in our quickly changing industry.

“I try to impart the fact that it’s necessary to apply their wizardry using new technologies and social media to the old-school communication skills they are learning in class – good writing and grammar, identifying and building audiences through meaningful professional relationships and networking, determining the right channels for their well-crafted message and the ability to evaluate the results of their efforts in order to make adjustments,” says Sturaitis. “We always have a lot to talk about and share in class.”

Raschanda Hall, Business Wire’s Chicago-based Global Media Relations Manager, is another staff member who regularly takes her experience and skills back to school. She recently spent the afternoon with a class of Chicago State students.

Raschanda Hall, Global Media Relations Manager

Raschanda Hall, Global Media Relations Manager

“I love the opportunity to talk to college students studying my craft, ” says Hall.  “Getting just a glimpse of what life is like in the working world of public relations is something these kids can’t get from books….When I’m asked to talk to a local college class about PR, I jump at the chance. I end up getting as much out of it as the students because I’m inspired by the next generation.”

With a company wide goal of 5,000 hours of community service in honor of its 50th Anniversary, Business Wire supports employees’ efforts to volunteer by providing up to 10 hours of paid time off in 2011.


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.


Business Wire Gives Back for 50th Anniversary

February 15, 2011

In the grand tradition of our founder, Lorry Lokey, & of course, Warren Buffett, chairman of our parent company Berkshire Hathaway, this year, Business Wire is giving back to celebrate our 50th anniversary.

We are setting a goal of 5,000 hours of community service for our 500+ employees in 2011. Each employee will given up to 12 hours of paid time off to volunteer at the nonprofit of their choice, with the goal that together, we can give back at least 5,000 hours to the communities in all 32 markets where we have local bureaus. In addition, Business Wire will continue to match charitable gifts to nonprofit organizations, as it has done for more than 10 years.

We are proud to be following in the footsteps of Warren Buffett, who is a founder of The Giving Pledge, along with Microsoft’s Bill Gates. Founded in 2010, The Giving Pledge encourages wealthy individuals worldwide to give the majority of their fortunes back to society. Our founder, Lorry Lokey, is also part of The Giving Pledge, and has already demonstrated a tradition of giving, particularly to education.

All of us here at Business Wire hope to uphold their example as we celebrate our 50 years of service to the communications industry this year. Be sure to check back here and at our Facebook page for updates throughout the year on our progress toward 5,000 hours given back!


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