Technology Media Pros Discuss Transparency in Financial Reporting and Media Communications

September 15, 2009

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Business Wire Silicon Valley hosted “Transparency in Financial Reporting and Media Communications,” with a panel  featuring technology media writers and editors discussing the most important issues in corporate disclosure and investor relations. The panel, moderated by Steve Trousdale, Business Editor for the San Jose Mercury News, included:

L-R: Steve Trousdale, Aaron Ricadela, Michael Liedtke, Shana Lynch

L-R: Steve Trousdale, Aaron Ricadela, Michael Liedtke, Shana Lynch

The event, held at The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, was attended by more than 55 area investor relations, public relations and media relations professionals.  Among the key tips and observations offered by the panel:

Steve Trousdale

  • PR and IR professionals should research the appropriate reporter for their story and tailor a sophisticated and creative pitch.
  • Please don’t call and ask “Who covers the Internet?”  This reflects poorly on your communications and messaging team.
  • He is more skeptical when reading earnings releases now after the tech crash in the late 90’s, so they have a keep eye for seeing the story and reading between the jargon.
  • To build and foster relationships with his news room, please offer the CFO and other key IR professionals for interviews, briefings, one on ones, etc.
  • The Mercury News enjoys working for exclusives, but as they compete with the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, being transparent about who also has seen the press release is a best practice.

Aaron Ricadela

  • Believes PR and IR professionals should provide unfettered access to earnings calls.
  • Believes the most successful IR press release is composed clearly and that it should be easy to read.
  • Reporters at BusinessWeek do use Twitter and he believes it’s a solid way to build relationships w/ his newsroom.  Sharing tweets with relevant topics and industry chatter is valuable to them.
  • He’s not a fan of “investor days” as he would rather do a one-on-one interview.
  • PR and IR professionals also need to understand how to communicate smaller companies in a broad way, so that round-up stories and trend pieces are timely.

Michael Liedtke

  • IR professionals need to keep the writing clear in an earnings press release and offer the bottom line and top line.
  • They can quickly find the “spin” and jargon and have distaste for that language, especially since they can easily do research and see the “real story.”
  • It’s necessary for PR and IR professionals to do their homework to foster best media relations practices.
  • Do not send template PR or IR pitches. 
  • For smaller to mid-size companies, he recommends pitching a trend story or a round-up piece to connect to a larger news.
  • Companies he believes consistently push out “A+” earnings releases include: Intel, Microsoft and Oracle.
  • An industry that he covered that he considers a “poor” performer re: earnings releases include most newspaper companies.  They don’t share information well and are not strong with financial reporting.

Shana Lynch

  • All reporters on staff use Twitter, and she believes this is a fantastic way to build relationships, find leads, etc.
  • She recommends that all PR and IR professionals read the weekly and do archive searches before contacting or pitching.
  • Email is the best way to contact a reporter and to pitch a story.
  • They are interested in exclusive stories and news, but will only do so if the breaking news has not been offered to another media point.
  • A local angle is key to circulation and appeal, so please do your homework, as the BizJournal company covers the entire country.
  • The clean tech industry is also something they are covering a lot of and believe is the strongest trend.

Local Business Wire offices host several events each year on PR, IR, SEO, media and other topics.  To find out about upcoming Business Wire events both in your area and online, visit the Events section of BusinessWire.com.  And follow the #bwevents hashtag on Twitter for real-time updates during events.


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