Business Wire Spotlight: Meet Zara McAlister!

August 11, 2014

For today’s Friday spotlight, we once again head north to interview Zara McAlister,  our Canadian media relations specialist.

Meet Zara McAlisterZara, thank you for speaking with us!  Tell us about yourself, where are you from?
I was born and raised in Port Perry, Ontario, a small town north of Toronto. As a country girl, I’ve had to adjust to big city living in Toronto. It’s getting easier every day.  

When did you start working for Business Wire?
After completing my MA degree in Journalism from Western University in the spring of 2012, I took on the position of newsroom editor at Business Wire’s Toronto office the following November.    

You first started at Business Wire as an editor, tell us more about your roles within the company.
Although I enjoyed the editorial and client relations side at Business Wire when I worked in our Toronto newsroom, I was excited about pursuing new opportunities as a media relations specialist for our Canadian territory. This role enabled me to put on my journalistic thinking cap and collaborate with the thousands of journalists in the country. I’ve been working in this role for the past five months – and I love doing it!

Tell us more about your role as our Canadian media relations expert?
As a media relations specialist, I develop and maintain relationships with Canadian journalists, form partnerships with media points by exploring content license opportunities, co-manage our @BusinesswireCA Twitter account and I work on keeping our expansive database of media contacts up-to-date. Apart from my primary responsibilities, I also enjoy writing content for our blog and other public and investor relations publications.

What do you enjoy about your job?
The best part about my role in media relations is the opportunity to meet new journalists every day. Even though I’m not always interacting with journalists face-to-face (more often than not we connect via social media), I get to learn about our Canadian media landscape, what our journalists deem newsworthy and how Business Wire can facilitate their needs. I think working with our journalists is so important given how unstable their industry is at this time, so we want to be able to help our reporters and editors as they are taking on massive changes.

What do you like about Business Wire?
All of my colleagues, from Seattle to Tokyo, have always been friendly and encouraging. Our global team is ready to land a hand when needed, despite operating on different time zones. Our courtesy with each other definitely extends to our customers and our media partners, so they can always expect outstanding and punctual customer service.

What are some of your favorite contributions to Business Wire?
I was able to hone my copy editing skills when I worked in our Toronto newsroom, so I always felt a rush of adrenaline every time I was able to catch misplaced quotation marks, dangling modifiers, and misspelled names.  I prided myself on spotting those pesky little “It’s” vs. “Its” errors, which actually happens quite frequently.  

I’ve been able to employ my journalistic skills by writing content marketing pieces to help increase our brand awareness in Canada. I’m not afraid to try out new ways of marketing ourselves.

Tell us about yourself!
I’m a self-professed lover of chick lit and all things related to the Bachelor/Bachelorette reality TV show. For those two hour episodes every Monday evening, my eyes are glued to the TV watching impossibly romantic dates and heart wrenching breakups. When it’s not a Monday evening (and this show airs pretty much all of the time), you can find me enjoying Toronto’s summer patio scene or hitting around a birdie with my badminton racquet.

I’m also a globe trotter, having travelled across North and South America, and much of Europe.

What drives you to do what you do every day at Business Wire?

As soon as I step into my office, I’m ready to offer valuable content to our Canadian journalists so that they can share important news with their readers or investors. Newsrooms will never have to worry about a lack of content when they decide to work with Business Wire.

What is your favorite thing about living in Canada?
That we are generally well-liked by people around the world. Because the stereotype that Canadians are polite, friendly and outgoing people is actually accurate—look no further than our Toronto office team. Also, I think I look fairly stylish in a snowsuit.  

Why do you recommend Canadian companies work with Business Wire?
Business Wire has formed long-lasting and solid partnerships with many of the major media points around the world. That means that your news will always be viewed and shared by the editors, reporters and producers that make up global newsrooms.


Business Wire Journalist Survey to Monitor Trends in Media Research Tools

August 2, 2011

For nearly 50 years Business Wire has long served two constituencies: those companies and organizations that distribute their press releases over our network; and information recipients, foremost among them members of the media.  Today we are conducting a short survey to look at the news gathering process of today’s journalists.

The term “journalist” has expanded over the years from professional reporters and writers to include more audiences like bloggers, vloggers, etc.  The way the media goes about their everyday news gathering efforts has changed as well.  This quick survey looks at traditional news sources, multimedia, social media, and the usage of these communications tools.

Our Global Media Relations team works with reporters across the world everyday to provide them with free access to our PressPass service and other tools for journalists.  These brief surveys help keep us aware of the changes in work-flow among an audience critical to our business so we can continue to offer solutions to match their needs.

If you’re a member of the media please take a moment — 94 seconds, actually — to take our survey today.


BW Fun Fact: Business Wire Reaches Journalists With a Combo of High Tech and High Touch

May 20, 2011

When Business Wire launched it’s website in 1995 there was a lot of excitement around sending the press release via email to the media. Previously, all major media points received news from us through a satellite fed teleprinter while many others received local area or industry news via fax.

From the beginning we wanted to make it easy for journalists to see our news.  So we kept diversifying our news delivery options.  Today, our BW created and patented delivery platform–News Express–as well as hundreds of dual-hosted websites, RSS, FTP, Twitter feeds, mobile distribution and even some diehard fax subscriptions are among the channels our news arrives in newsrooms, and on desktops, tablets and the mobile phones of journalists, bloggers, financial analysts and news consumers globally.  None of these methods is more popular than our PressPass email delivery.

Our first customized email delivery product “Email Select” was limited to 500 email addresses and a short list of industry keywords.  This tight limit concerned Business Wire Founder, Lorry Lokey who monitored every journalist name and email address added to our new distribution list–presumably to remove anyone not worthy (though this never happened).

Today, tens of thousands of journalists are registered for our PressPass email service and yes they’re still vetted, verified and approved by a member of our media relations team.  How do we do it?

With unlimited choices for keyword search term selection and news customization, journalists are able to create and recieve feeds that are more targeted then ever.   Those enhancements in technology allow our team to focus on the relationship aspects of our role in the news process and keep the media and communications communities satisfied.

If you’re a member of the media and would like to subscribe to receive a customized news feed from Business Wire, you can register for PressPass or subscribe to our RSS or Twitter feeds or even subscribe to the BW Mobile site to view your custom feed on your mobile device.


Hybrid Approach: Reporters Use Social Networks, but Prefer Phone and Email for PR Pitches

May 18, 2011
 
by Raschanda Hall, Global Media Relations Manager,
Business Wire/Chicago
 
  
The PR community seems to have an insatiable appetite for information on how, why and for what journalists are using social media.  Two recent surveys suggest  a hybrid approach is preferred. 
 
According to a recent  Society of New Communications Research (SNCR) survey of 200 journalists, more than 70% use social media networks and platforms as reporting tools.  Facebook (no surprise), is the dominant player.  About 75% of journalists said they use it as a reporting tool, yet only 1% prefer Twitter as a way to be contacted.   Interestingly, nearly 90% prefer traditional communication tools like email and phone for building relationships with PR people.
 
Reporters also continue to find great value in resources like company websites  when it comes to their day-to-day news gathering, the study found. 
  
The Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW) is also conducting a survey.  This one will take a look at the social media habits of business reporters.  At their Spring Conference last month, the organization held a social media tools workshop where Thomson Reuters  personal finance reporter Lauren Young  shared that she uses pitches she receives on Twitter to cultivate and tap news sources.
 
Specifically, SABEW wants to take a look at business journalists’ use of social media for “reporting and disseminating business news,” said Kevin Noblet, SABEW’s president, with the intent of conducting the survey annually to establish benchmarks and track changes in usage among its membership.    Results will be made public on the organization website before the end of June.  
 
If you’re a business journalist, we encourage you to take this one-minute survey today.
 

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