MEDIA: The ups and downs of pursuing the Dow Jones News Service - Dow Jones News Service is the Holy Grail for financial PR practitioners Claire Atkinson investigates how to make your quest a little easier.

Shortly after the stock market opened on August 29, Dow Jones News Service (DJNS) reporter Cheryl Winokur Monk noticed Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette's share price moving up. When it had increased by dollars 10, the reporter started making some calls and discovered a takeover rumor. She filed a story at 10:51 am.

Shortly after the stock market opened on August 29, Dow Jones News Service (DJNS) reporter Cheryl Winokur Monk noticed Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette's share price moving up. When it had increased by dollars 10, the reporter started making some calls and discovered a takeover rumor. She filed a story at 10:51 am.

Shortly after the stock market opened on August 29, Dow Jones News Service (DJNS) reporter Cheryl Winokur Monk noticed Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette's share price moving up. When it had increased by dollars 10, the reporter started making some calls and discovered a takeover rumor. She filed a story at 10:51 am.

At 12:40 pm the headline 'DLJ in Talks To Be Bought by CS First Boston' appeared on DJNS, written by Wall Street Journal reporters Randy Smith and Charlie Gasparino. The two had seen the story on the wire, chased it down and then handed it back. The following day DLJ confirmed the story.

Dow Jones News Service is part of Dow Jones Newswires, which also produces wires Capital Markets Report and Emerging Markets Report, among others, and is located in New Jersey, across the Hudson River from the center of the financial universe.

DJNS is a valuable tool for PR pros looking to reach an audience of stockbrokers, traders, analysts and money managers, but it certainly isn't a guarantee of coverage in the much-coveted Wall Street Journal. 'We have a unique relationship,' explains Rick Stine, managing editor of Dow Jones Newswires.

'They are a sister publication and often they'll file to us throughout the day,' as they did when the AOL/Time Warner merger broke. But in return only a handful of wire stories appear in print.

If you are looking for a double hit, a better plan of attack might be pitching one of the news service writers who files columns for the Journal.

They include Ray Hennessey, who writes IPO Outlook in the Journal on Mondays and appears early mornings on CNBC, which is partly owned by Dow Jones, and wire reporter Steven Sears, who writes the Journal's Options Report.

In addition, DJNS staff members write two other Journal features, Abreast of the Market and Small Stock Focus.

If you don't manage to get in the Journal, Dow Jones News Service also feeds interactive edition WSJ.com and has a news distribution alliance with the Associated Press.

The busiest times of day for editorial staffers are before the market opens and after it closes. For that reason, the start of their day is staggered, with people arriving hourly from 6:30 am until the last group starts at 10:30 am. Whatever time you're calling, someone will be available, as the 130-strong newsroom is staffed 24 hours a day.

When news breaks ...

If you've got breaking news, don't be shy about calling the spot news desk. 'PR pros get confused about how we are set up,' Stine comments.

'When they have breaking news they should try the spot news desk, where we have people equipped to handle it. The reporter they normally deal with could be out. We have a fax specifically for breaking news.' The spot news desk is run by a rolling group of assignment editors, among them Colin Kellaher and Joe Woelfel. As news comes in, the desk posts headlines and then files stories.

In addition to operating as a filter for important market-moving news, each year DJNS reporters file some 500 one-on-one feature interviews with CEOs, who are encouraged to make forward-looking projections and discuss new products.

What makes Dow Jones different from competitors such as Bloomberg and Reuters? President Paul Ingrassia, whose office in New Jersey overlooks Manhattan's financial district, says his company has more subscribers than anyone else - 330,000 in total.

For anyone trying to target the financial community, 'Dow Jones Newswires is the Holy Grail,' says Ron Torossian, vice president and group director at MWW Group in New York. Torossian admits that pitching is a hit-and-miss affair. 'Just keep beating down the door until you get the right person,' he advises. 'There's no way to know if it will or won't run.

It depends on the mood or attitude of the individual.'

Last month, another PR pro, Jessica Schwartz, senior associate at Washington, DC-based Widmeyer-Baker Group, started her news service pitch about the Aspen Institute's globalization conference to the Denver bureau. The bureau turned her down, saying it was tightly focused on financial stories.

Schwartz made a number of other phone calls and got no response, until someone at Dow Jones Latin America heard about it and called for information.

'You have to try a lot of different avenues,' she offers.

The news service's copy is run by hundreds of US newspapers, but often handing a story to a wire service knocks out other pitches you might want to make. 'Once it has run anywhere, it is no longer a secret,' says Helen Whiteley, media relations specialist at Washington, DC-based Levick Strategic Communications. Whiteley pitched a trend story about business development corporations (BDCs), which funnel money toward pre-IPOs firms and allow individual investors to reap the benefits. 'Dow Jones was a great place for this to run,' Whiteley says. 'Even though it didn't appear in the Journal, it hit our market.'

New features

This year Stine has implemented a number of new features, including a new column that looks at companies planning to go public. Stine figured that little was written about firms between the time they file with the SEC and start trading. Going Public, launched in June, gives potential investors an idea of what the professionals think of various firms.

A column named Something Ventured began in February. It tracks trends, interesting individuals and firms in the venture capital business. The feature is published Wednesdays and is written by three reporters: Ray Hennessey (IPOs), Kopin Tan (mergers and acquisitions) and Mark Boslet (West Coast bureau chief).

Under an agreement with PRNewswire and Business Wire, Dow Jones News Service has been publishing full press releases since March. So if your firm's release is overlooked by the editors, the financial community may still notice it. However, Dow Jones News Service just suspended its agreement to pick up Internet Wire material following the Emulex hoax, in which a former Internet Wire employee had the service put out a fraudulent press release saying that Emulex's CEO had quit.

For once, DJNS was behind the pack when the fake release came out. 'We were late on the story by accident,' says Ingrassia. 'Our Internet Wire feed was down and we didn't run it until after the story halted trading.'

Stine says Dow Jones News Service was the first wire to identify the story as a hoax. 'This was a criminal act that occurred. It is not a story of news organizations letting their guard down.'



Contact List

Dow Jones News Service

Dow Jones Newswires

Harborside Financial Center

800 Plaza Two

Jersey City, NJ 07311-1199

Tel: (201) 938 5400 (spot news)

Tel: (201) 938 5150 (assignment editors)

Fax: (201) 938 5600 (spot news)

Fax: (201) 938 2141 (mutual fund reporters)

Fax: (201) 938 4033 (securities/

markets reporters)

Fax: (201) 938 4280 (technology reporters)

Fax: (201) 938 4040 (consumer product reporters)

E-mail: firstname.lastname@dowjones.com

Managing editor: Rick Stine

Deputy managing editors: Richard Martin, Gene Colter

Assistant managing editors: Linda Fung (reporters), Randy Williams (spot news), Carmen Fleetwood (reporters), Daisy Maxey (bureaus)

News editors: Tom Granahan (snippets), Pete Rooney (spot news)

Managing editor, federal filings: Jane Meacham

Assistant news editors: Michael Richardson (reporters, AP desk), Dean Orser (reporters), George Stahl (spot news)

Washington bureau chief: John Connor

Managing editor, Dow Jones Canada: John Moritsugu

News editor, equities, Asia: Daisy Maxey.



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