PRWeek webcast discusses challenges of business news

A panel of experts recently took part in a PRWeek webcast, discussing the role of changing media and the rising demand for business news.

A panel of experts recently took part in a PRWeek webcast, discussing the role of changing media and the rising demand for business news. The journalists and multimedia entrepreneurs speculated on strategies to help companies vie for coverage in the increasingly competitive business news market. The guest panel included Rafat Ali, editor of ContentNext Media, Mick Weinstein, editor-in-chief, Seeking Alpha, Chris Peacock, executive editor and VP, CNNMoney.com, and Shawn Dainas, group manager at Sun Microsystems. The webcast was sponsored by BurrellesLuce.

In an age when financial journalists are moving away from traditional print to the blogosphere, and business news giants expand their online presence, PR professionals must also do their homework to stay on top of all of the emerging media – and the people creating it – the panel concluded.

Peacock said that in the information age, journalists have three kinds of stories to tell: breaking news, news analysis, and valued-added news, such as ‘best of' lists. More traditional organizations are using new outlets to disseminate that information, including CEO Podcasts, automatically updated online tickers, and broadband video, in which CNN sees its future.

“We have our reporters at the NASDAQ, who can turn something out immediately, a Fortune writer who can do a daily show, and to take it one step further, have a monthly segment,” Peacock said.

However, the panel added that PR professionals, especially new media ones, shouldn't focus solely on the wsj.coms of the world to get their messages out. Smaller financial sites like seekingalpha.com have emerged as a less-journalistic means of gaining financial information, though no less authoritative.

“The birth of the blog created a new voice in all fields of investing and a way for anyone from a money manager to an online investor to provide advice,” said Weinstein.

Pitching stories still remains a prickly issue, however. To dam the flood of daily e-mail, Peacock recommended professionals e-mail first, then ask for a five-minute phone discussion. All the panelists emphasized the need for professionals to take the time to thoroughly research the media, the beats, and the reporters and editors on those beats, especially with all the diverse outlets.

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