Journalism Technology and the Canadian Media – A Game of Give and Take

August 12, 2015

Jean-Adrien (2)

By Jean-Adrien Delicano, Media Relations Specialist – Canada

In June, I attended the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) annual conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The CAJ conference is generally considered the largest gathering of Canadian journalists during the year and offers journalists a place to exchange ideas, tools and a few laughs.

Halifax

Halifax

The conference covered a lot of subjects regarding the state of journalism. Speakers held panels about ethics, investigative journalism, different types of reporting and tips on how to succeed as a journalist today.

One particular subject that dominated the conference was the role of technology in journalism. These days, technology goes hand-in-hand with just about everything in our lives, be that organizing our days, facilitating tasks or providing entertainment. Technological advancements have also played a big role in improving news gathering, production and consumption. These new tools for journalists range from drones with cameras designed to capture images from different vantage points, to web programs that intend to protect the identity of sources.

Trevor Adams, editor of the local city and lifestyle publication Halifax Magazine, agrees with the notion that technology improves journalism. That said, there can be pitfalls that may come as a result of technological advancements.

“Many of the technologies referred to are becoming essential tools for journalists and it was good to learn more about them,” Adams says. “However, as other sessions discussed, these technologies also have the potential for great intrusion on personal privacy. I was pleased the conference covered both sides of the issue.”

Nick Taylor-Vaisey, current president of the CAJ and moderator at the conference this year, agrees that new technology has benefited modern newsrooms. But he also says there is risk involved when trying out the latest and greatest gadgets and apps.

Nick Taylor-Vaisey

Nick Taylor-Vaisey

“Many of journalism’s technologically driven projects are experiments. That’s important, because it demonstrates that newsrooms can innovate and try things out with no guarantee of success,” Taylor-Vaisey says. “Of course, that latter bit is also important to note: Not every experiment works as intended or delivers what was expected.

“One of the enduring themes of CAJ 2015 was that we brought together innovators who know what works and who could pass on some of that knowledge to their peers,” he continued. “Those delegates all return to newsrooms that are stronger for that learning.”

Topics regarding technology in journalism covered at the conference included:

Using drones for news gathering: Drones can be used to capture captivating footage for news stories from a perspective that has not always been available to everyday people until recently. Drone journalism is an emerging field in the industry, and soon it will be a useful tool for journalists. While drone journalism has been prominent in other countries around the world, the issue of safety and ethics has affected the use of drones for news reporting in Canada.

Data journalism: Math and numbers may scare off some journalists, but they can also help them find stories buried in the data. Spreadsheets and analytics can be used to discover trends, predict possible future results or further verify facts. Recently, Canadian journalism schools have begun to offer more data journalism classes, as young journalists are seeing the value in stories underneath the statistics.

Covering your online tracks: In this age of digital surveillance, the safety of your sources, and perhaps even yourself, can depend on an ability to cover your tracks online. With threats posed by hackers and the NSA, your privacy may be compromised during the chase for a great story. A CAJ panel brought up some tools and tips that can help journalists protect their sources and secure their own safety.

Photo and video journalism right in the palm of your hand: Journalists once had to rely on heavy, expensive and intrusive technology in order to capture photos and videos for their stories. Today, journalists can use their handheld, pocketable smartphones to capture photos and videos in ways not possible as recent as a decade ago, improving the speed and accuracy of modern news reporting. The CAJ Conference featured panels that discussed how to take advantage of mobile technology when it comes to photo journalism, and how to verify that what we see is true in the age of speedy and citizen journalism.


Case Study: Utilizing Press Releases to Reach Canadian Media and Consumers

October 14, 2014

Earlier this month, Business Wire spoke with HOOPP, Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan about their use of press releases.  In this CommPro podcast, Martin Biefer, the Director of Public Affairs at HOOPP to discuss HOOPP’s press release success story and his opinions on how to rise above the news clutter.

In just 8 minutes, learn how a single press release caught the attention of an entire country.  Click here to read the article http://www.commpro.biz/public-relations/media-relations/wire/ or watch the video below.


Business Wire Spotlight: Meet Rishika Jha

July 21, 2014

Ever wonder what it is like to work for Business Wire?  In today’s employee spotlight, we talk with Rishika Jha, an account executive from our Canadian team about herself, her job and her vision for Business Wire.

Rishika, where are you from?photo
India, originally. Now a permanent resident of Canada.

When did you start working for Business Wire?
May, 2010.

What is your background?
I had a brief stint as a television news youth reporter with CNN-IBN before venturing into Public Relations. Having worked with some of the largest global agencies like Text 100 and Burson-Marstellar in India, I was already familiar with newswires and used Business Wire’s services loyally throughout my tenure at the agency. No points for guessing how delighted I was, when the opportunity to be a part of the Business Wire Toronto team presented itself!

This is not your first role at Business Wire.  What did you do before becoming an AE?
I started at Business Wire as the Media Relations Specialist for Canada and two years later, assumed the role of an Account Executive.

What do you do for Business Wire?
My primary responsibility at Business Wire is to focus on new business development to grow our presence in the Canadian market.

What do you enjoy about your job?
Meeting people, learning new things and consulting on all things press releases are the top three aspects of my role at Business Wire that I enjoy most.

What do you like about Business Wire?
Our work culture is phenomenal. We are a great team and all of us work with trust and transparency while engaging effectively with each other and our clients.

What are some of your favorite Business Wire projects?
As a Media Relations Specialist for Canada, I successfully leveraged social media to engage with journalists and resultantly increase the availability of news that crossed the wire. I am also proud to have established and fortified our agency partnerships within Canada, since becoming an account executive and helping public and private corporations meet their external communications goals.

What is your goal as a Business Wire account executive?
Be it disclosure or marketing communications, we have the right solution catering to a company’s specific communications needs. I hope to partner in the continued success of our operations in Canada and share our story with companies to help them understand what differentiates us in the market.

Horse Shoe Lake - OntarioTell us about yourself.
A nature lover, I live in Toronto’s most amazing neighbourhood – High Park! When I am not working, I can be found trying out a new restaurant with friends, running/biking in the park or enjoying the sun’s golden glow by our outdoor swimming pool (of course, only during summer months. Frost bites are for real). I also enjoy backcountry camping, which has led me to discover some amazing lakes in Ontario in the past five years that I have lived here. Given my eclectic taste in music, I am open to most genres, however Yann Tiersen is my favourite. When it comes to books, I love reading Jane Austen, Shakespeare and Leo Tolstoy, but at the same time enjoy historical novels.

What drives you to do what you do every day at Business Wire?
My passion for communication and once again, our company culture.

What is your favorite thing about living in Canada?
For someone who enjoys the outdoors, loves to travel and learn about different cultures, I could not have ended up in a better place. My favourite thing to do during summer months is going camping and fishing and in doing so, I have seen some of the most beautiful places tucked away in the Great White North.

What do you think about Business Wire Canada?
Business Wire’s distribution is a great fit for Canadian corporations because we go above and beyond as a wire, to ensure that our clients’ news releases are discovered easily by key investors/stakeholders. Our exclusive distribution agreements with leading Canadian media, exceptional turnaround time and outstanding monitoring reports invariably garner a better ROI for clients. It is because of these competitive advantages, that we continue to experince accelerated growth within the Canadian market.

What is the top reason companies should work with Business Wire?
It would have to be the quality of people who work at Business Wire and the level of service we strive to continually provide to our clients.


Small Businesses Take Heed: Social Media Basics Bring Big Business Opportunities!

February 29, 2012
by Rishika Luthra, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/Toronto
Rishika Luthra

Rishika Luthra

In a very short span of time, the social media landscape has undergone a sea-change.  For example, Twitter — a platform which was, until recently, attracting audiences who wanted to know what their favourite celebrities are doing in real-time — now boasts of an eclectic community of enthusiasts who are more aware, involved and engaged. What’s more, we even witnessed Canada’s first “social media election” in 2011!

There have been inevitable changes on the economic front as well. Canada’s growth in 2012 will be slightly below average, according to Deputy Chief Economist Doug Porter, BMO. That said, there is no denying that, at present, Canada is a relative safe haven compared to other economies, running the lowest inflation rates internationally.

So how do you accelerate small business growth in our economic times? The first question you need to ask yourself as a small business is which area of your business do you want to be successful in? Is it lead-generation and sales? Or is it customer service? Doing a goal-definition up front is crucial because social media may be free, but your resources and time are not!

In short, defining success is the key point of measuring it, suggests a panel of social media experts who recently participated in a Social Media Week Toronto 2012 session, hosted by BMO (Bank of Montreal), in a room teeming with Canadian entrepreneurs.

Start with your customers

“Being able to identify your key customer helps determine where your message will resonate best,” suggests Julie Howlett, Account Director of Global Marketing Solutions at LinkedIn Canada.

Chris Eben, a partner at The Working Group,  believes in starting small, connecting with customers and doing it in a real, genuine way.

Set social media policy and guidelines

Liz Strauss, Founder of Inside-Out Thinking, strongly suggests looking to build a social media policy, regardless of the size of your business.

Identifying who is going to respond to the information you share is just as essential.

“Using Social Media platforms sans specific guidelines is another way of ensuring that things could go well out of control,” warns Chris Eben.

One of the best examples of a small business that gets social media right is two-year-old Toronto-based Sprouter, a company that provides entrepreneurs everywhere with a platform to connect and engage for commentaries on small business issues, emerging technology trends and startup-related enquiries. Erin Bury, Director of Content & Communications at Sprouter, recently participated in a Social Media Week Breakfast session hosted by Business Wire Canada.

Mitigate negative publicity by being open to feedback

If you are social, you’ve got to be open to feedback, which could be positive or negative. Lack of answering or being “present” within your community is going to be harmful.

Remember that negative comments come from someone who wants to argue or someone who wants to be heard. The idea is to disengage with the former while genuinely engaging with the latter. The power to turn negative into positive rests in your hands.

Social media is all about engagement and the coolest tip for you is to attend events like Startup Weekend, one of the best examples of validating an idea with a relevant customer base, according to Chris.

Now that you have the mantra to bring your business up to speed, remember that being good at social media does not guarantee success. Being good at service does!


Canada Gets it Right on Fair Disclosure — Again

March 18, 2011
by Neil Hershberg, Senior Vice President, Global Media

Neil HershbergThe United States is often thought of as the global disclosure leader, but the truth is that there is a lot we can learn from our next-door neighbor: Canada.

In Canada’s typically unassuming way, the Canadian regulatory model has been adopted as the de facto prototype for the disclosure regime that has taken root in the United Kingdom and the European Union.

I’ll elaborate on the background as to how this all came about shortly. What’s important, however, is to spotlight the reasons why global regulators have come to recognize Canada’s disclosure framework as a world-class model worth emulating.

The Canadian Investor Relations Institute [CIRI], a widely respected association of industry professionals, has just updated its “Standards and Guidance for Disclosure and Model Disclosure Policy,” to reflect the regulatory and accounting changes, social media, and other factors that have transformed the investor relations landscape since its guidelines were last modified in 2006.

CIRI’s authoritative “Best Practices” resource for reporting issuers and industry professionals reinforces the central role of a simultaneous, broadly disseminated news release in achieving full and fair disclosure.

Unlike the United States, where the term “disclosure standards” is rapidly becoming an oxymoron, Canadians are crystal clear in what constitutes fair disclosure.

According to the timely disclosure policies of the TSX Exchanges and the CNSX, a full-text news release disseminated via a sanctioned news service is the only acceptable way to disclose material information. No ambiguity here. While the U.S. trumpets full and fair disclosure in principle, Canada practices it daily as a matter of regulatory policy. The result is that the entire investment community benefits from a level playing field. (Note: Business Wire is one of several approved news dissemination services in the Canadian marketplace.)

CIRI’s guidelines take a pragmatic approach to the arsenal of available investor relations tools that greatly facilitate investor outreach.

The CIRI report specifically notes that standalone web postings, conference calls, and other complementary communications channels do NOT meet Canadian disclosure requirements. Issuers, however, are encouraged to use additional delivery platforms to supplement a simultaneous, widely disseminated news release.

“As material information should be released in a manner designed to reach the widest public audience possible, including individual investors, companies are encouraged to use various technologies to supplement the news release. Some of the most obvious technologies include conference calls, webcasts, email, fax, video conferences, company websites, and more recently, corporate blogs, RSS feeds, podcasts, and social networking sites. While new technologies are important and useful ways to disseminate information, they are not substitutes for a broadly disseminated news release.” [CIRI Standards and Guidance for Disclosure, Page 18]

Talking about disclosure, Business Wire is the sponsor of  CIRI’s ‘Standards and Guidance for Disclosure and Model Disclosure Policy.”  To be clear, however, our involvement in the project came after CIRI completed its revisions; we in no way influenced CIRI’s research or conclusions. Business Wire is proud to support the activities of CIRI, NIRI, and other investor relations organizations worldwide that promote professional development of IR practitioners, and the ideal of effective disclosure.

Now, back to our story.

The London Stock Exchange went public in 2001, a decision that forced the LSE to relinquish its monopoly on regulatory news dissemination via its subsidiary, The Regulatory News Service [RNS].

The Financial Services Authority, the UK equivalent of the SEC, used the opportunity to rethink its approach to regulatory disclosure.

The FSA formed the Information Dissemination Advisory Group (“IDAG”), a committee of industry participants and outside experts to study various models and scenarios. IDAG was charged with making its recommendation to the FSA as to the UK’s future regulatory structure.

FSA officials also crossed the pond to North America, where they conducted extensive interviews with a wide range of market participants in the United States and Canada, as well as to conduct their own  observations, research and analysis.

After completing its due diligence, the FSA ultimately embraced a competitive disclosure regime whose nucleus closely mirrors the key tenets of the Canadian regulatory system.

Soon after the UK model went live in 2002, the European Union began a similar exercise — and not surprisingly, concluded with virtually identical results.

The Committee of European Securities Regulators (CESR) exhaustively evaluated a range of disclosure options over several years. CESR’s final assessment, memorialized in the Transparency Obligations Directive that took effect in January 2007, once again ratified the core Canadian/UK disclosure model as the best of all possible worlds.

With its characteristic low-key style, Canada deserves to finally be recognized as a  regulatory role model whose commitment to full and fair disclosure sets the standard for leading global financial markets.


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